Walker cruises to repeat title at Sony Open
January 18, 2015
By D.J. Piehowski, PGATOUR.COM
- Jimmy Walker won at Waialae for the second time in as many years and again took the FedExCup lead. (Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
HONOLULU — Jimmy Walker may be in a different tax bracket when he returns home from Hawaii.
After finishing runner-up at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions last week, Walker successfully defended his title at the Sony Open in Hawaii, claiming his fourth PGA TOUR victory Sunday. The total haul for the Aloha Swing: $1.67 million and the FedExCup lead.
“After Monday I was kind of wondering how things were going to go,” he said. “I came in and just continued to do what I did last week, which was hit it really good, and I putted even better this week.”
Walker made seven birdies in Sunday's final round. For the week, he led the field in strokes gained: putting, a stat that was helped largely by Saturday’s finish, when he closed with 11 consecutive one-putts.
After losing the 54-hole co-lead last week, Walker’s final round at Waialae was a clinic in keeping a lead. He was bogey-free, hitting 16 of 18 greens. He only had one par putt from outside 8 feet.
“Today was all about keeping the pedal down,” Walker said. “And that's kind of what I talked about at the beginning of the week. If I got back to that position, could we really try to extend the lead instead of just hang on.”
It took 188 starts on the PGA TOUR for Walker to secure his first victory. He now has four wins in his last 32 starts.
“I feel like all the hard work I've been doing is paying off,” he said. “I put in the time. I feel like I've got good people around me, and I think that's really made the difference. They've helped me believe that I can be better than I am.”
Jimmy Walker repeats with an impressive win at Sony Open
SPINNING WHEELS: Try as he might, Matt Kuchar just couldn’t get anything going Sunday at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
Grouped with Jimmy Walker and Brian Harman in the final trio of the day, Kuchar failed to make a birdie and shot a closing 71. Sunday’s round snapped Kuchar’s streak of 255 consecutive PGA TOUR rounds with at least one birdie.
“I had a number of really good chances on the back nine,” Kuchar said. “I felt like I hit it very well. … I was hoping to get a little pressure on (Jimmy). I was trying to get one to go and nothing did. And Jimmy never really missed a shot.
“He made the game look pretty easy.”
CALL OF THE DAY
Fred Albers of PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.COM calls Jimmy Walker's approach on the eighth hole at Waialae.
HEALTHY AND HUNGRY: A six-month break doesn’t seem like it would be good for a PGA TOUR player’s golf game. But when the time came for Scott Piercy to have surgery on his right arm last February, he was ready to shut it down.
Piercy originally hurt his arm at the 2013 HP Byron Nelson Championship and tried to play through it. His only top-10 finish between the injury and surgery was a T5 at the 2013 PGA Championship.
“I was beaten up pretty bad mentally from trying to play through it,” he said after a final-round 66 at the Sony Open. “I didn’t really want to see a golf club for about two-and-a-half months and that’s about the time frame before I could even start working out or doing anything.”
After returning in July, Piercy was making his sixth start of the 2014-15 season. He recorded his second top 10 after a T7 finish in his hometown event, the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
“My goal was to come back better,” Piercy said. “Not to come back where I was before I got hurt. I was in a pretty good spot and I’m looking to go right past that one.”
SUNDAY'S TOP SOCIAL MEDIA
Congrats @JimmyWalkerPGA! Now go home and rest till the playoffs. Tired of u! Thanks— Colt Knost (@ColtKnost) January 19, 2015
Congrats @JimmyWalkerPGA well done! You played great. Looks like you need to start giving me strokes!— Scott Piercy (@ScottPiercyPGA) January 19, 2015
This looks familiar. pic.twitter.com/8XSErDbbAX— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 19, 2015
Category Round 4 leader
Statistic Weekly leader Statistic Strokes gained: tee-to-green Chris Kirk 5.463 Daniel Berger 2.901 Driving distance Morgan Hoffmann 303.1 yards Jason Day
Driving accuracy Pat Perez
85.71% Chez Reavie
73.21% Greens in regulation Daniel Berger 94.44% Jimmy Walker
81.94% Strokes gained: putting Jerry Kelly 3.365 Jimmy Walker 2.571 Putts per round Rory Sabbatini 21 Brian Davis 26 Total birdies Jimmy Walker
7 Jimmy Walker