February 17 2012
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- Jimmy Walker came to the Northern Trust Open last year with momentum after tying for ninth at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He went on to shoot three rounds in the 60s at Riviera and finish in a tie for fourth.
Walker is in an even better position at the midway point of this year's tournament -- ironically, on the heels of another tie for ninth on the Monterey Peninsula. He fired the morning's low round of 66 at Riviera and is tied for second at 4 under, two strokes behind Phil Mickelson.
"I really like Riv," Walker said. "It's got a lot of history, and it's a great golf course. I like a lot of stuff about it."
He's not particularly pleased with his driver, though. Walker has only hit 13 of 28 fairways during the first two rounds, although he has managed to find all but 13 greens in regulation.
"You guys noticed that, huh?" Walker said when reminded of his wayward tee shots. "I did, too, and I started to drive it a little better coming down the stretch. I hit a few more, gave myself some good looks, but ... you can manage the rough out here.
‘For the most part the pins are kind of tough, especially when it starts going downwind, you definitely want to be in the fairway, so that's what I'm going to work on a little bit."
The 33-year-old Walker is still looking for his first PGA TOUR victory. But the former Nationwide Tour Player of the Year is coming off a season where he posted career-bests in top-10 finishes and on both the FedExCup standings and money list.
Walker already has two top-10s and has played in every event outside of the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions -- one of 29 players in the field this week who can say the same.
"I feel great," Walker said. "I did a lot of conditioning in the off season, and this is my sixth tournament in a row, so I feel like all that is kind of paying off. We've got an RV that we're traveling in, and it helps make you feel like you're at home more, and that helps let you stay out a little longer."