KORN FERRY TOUR INSIDER
Walker rebounds from penalty to Monday qualify for Bermuda Championship
Danny Walker will make his PGA TOUR debut after surviving a 3-for-2 playoff
October 19, 2020
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
Danny Walker wins Final Stage of Q-School
The stories from Monday Qualifying for a PGA TOUR event are often chock full of interesting players or situations.
Add Danny Walker and his way of getting to the Bermuda Championship to that list.
Walker, who had conditional Korn Ferry Tour status for 2020, earned a spot in the PGA TOUR’s Bermuda event after Monday Qualifying. But his ‘Monday’ actually happened on Tuesday, as he was in a 3-for-2 playoff that took an extra day to complete. He also suffered a penalty shot during his round.
How often does someone recover from a penalty to still get through a qualifier?
“If anything it kind of freed me up,” says Walker about the penalty, with a laugh. “It would be funny if I got through after that. It actually relaxed me a little bit.”
Walker, a winner on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada, had accidentally lifted his ball from the fairway thinking that they were playing lift, clean, and place – as he had done the last three weeks on the LOCALiQ Series. He said he was thinking about the shot and the club he needed to hit. He put down a tee, picked up the ball, and didn’t even think about it until it was too late.
He said he was unsure about what the penalty would be. He told an official on the fourth green – the accident happened on the second hole – who originally said it was a two-shot penalty. The official came back on the fifth hole and said it was just a one-shot error.
Walker plodded along, making four birdies on his front nine after the penalty and added three more on his back nine to get to 7-under. With Seth Reeves and Greyson Sigg in the house already at 9-under and 8-under, respectively, he was in a playoff for the final two spots with Mike Miller, Bryson Nimmer, and Andres Gonzales. Nimmer, who had won three LOCALiQ Series events already in 2020, Miller, and Walker ended up having to continue on to Tuesday because of darkness.
On the Tuesday, Walker came out of the gate struggling. He blocked his opening tee shot into the fairway bunker. He had a good lie, though, and the lip wasn’t an issue, he said. He switched between the 6-iron and the 5-iron (“I had the six initially down over the ball but it didn’t feel right,” he said) and blasted it to just a couple of feet. He made the birdie and earned the first of two spots.
“I just made a good swing, hit a good shot… it was at least the best shot of the year for sure,” said Walker.
Now the 25-year-old will make his PGA TOUR debut in Bermuda.
Walker said he hasn’t been able to get into a rhythm this year on the golf course. He even began working with Jared Wolfe, who organized a few of his fellow professional golfers to work with RevMed, during the COVID-19 break. The company offers ancillary medical services.
Walker worked with RevMed and Wolfe for about five weeks, he said, before he got back to preparing for his season on the Korn Ferry Tour.
“There was really nothing else to do. I learned a little bit about the health industry, not too much,” he said. “I wanted a couple weeks of practice when the Monday Qualifiers started back up again. Doing cold calls is not the most fun thing.”
With just conditional status his original plan was to explore PGA TOUR Latinoamerica, PGA TOUR China, or return to Canada but he instead began chasing Monday Qualifiers when the PGA TOUR’s developmental circuits were paused for 2020.
Walker eventually played three events on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2020, making the cut at the Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Aetna. He admits it was “not great” for his game to just do Monday Qualifiers as he was unable to get into a rhythm. He played some mini-tour events in Florida before playing three weeks in a row on the LOCALiQ series.
“Once I got into the (Korn Ferry Tour) events my mindset changed so much. You have to think about where you’re leaving the ball on the course and accepting that 2-under is actually a good score some days,” he said. That’s not the case when you’re in Monday Qualifiers. It’s hard to get into a rhythm and you have to be ready when you do get in.”
With the Bermuda Championship Monday Qualifier happening a few weeks prior to the event Walker said he is indeed ready to make his TOUR debut.
He was suffering from a wonky driver before the Bermuda Championship qualifier, he said, but he changed his shaft to an older one right before the event and he became way sharper. Now he’s going to take that confidence, and for the first time in 2020, some momentum, into his first TOUR event. He’ll also have his father on his bag for the week.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Walker, “and a good experience however it turns out.”