Tue, Aug 02, 2016 - Page 16 News List

Jimmy Walker wins first major title

HOLDING HIS NERVE:The Texan left himself a testing par putt from three feet on the 18th, which he sank under enormous pressure to claim the Wanamaker Trophy

Reuters, SPRINGFIELD, New Jersey

Jimmy Walker of the US celebrates his putt on the 18th hole to win the PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey, on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

Jimmy Walker broke through for his first major title with a one-shot win over Jason Day in the PGA Championship after the American played 36 grueling holes at water-logged Baltusrol on Sunday.

The 37-year-old Texan calmly canned a three-foot par putt to cap a wire-to-wire win with steely precision, shooting a final-round 67 to finish on 14-under 266.

However, his victory was far from routine.

“It was a battle the whole day,” said the American, a five-time winner on the PGA Tour.

Walker had to return to the classic championship course early on Sunday morning to play his entire third round after heavy rain and thunderstorms suspended play on Saturday, and he shot two-under 68 for a one-shot lead going into the final 18.

He then had to fend off major winners Day and Henrik Stenson in the final round, but came out shining with a one-two punch after the turn to set up victory.

Holding a one-shot lead over both world No. 1 and defending champion Day and Open Championship winner Stenson, Walker holed out from a greenside bunker to birdie the 10th hole.

Walker then rolled in a left-to-right curling, 30-foot uphill putt for birdie at the 11th to extend his lead to two over Australia’s Day. He widened the lead to three with a birdie putt that curled around the lip and in at the 17th.

However, Day put on the pressure, reaching the par-five 18th in two. He rolled in an eagle putt for 67 to close the gap to one, as Walker, playing in the final pairing, looked on from back on the fairway.

“I made the birdie [on 17], but sometimes things just don’t come easy and golf is not an easy game, and Jason is a true champion,” Walker said. “I wouldn’t expect anything less, an eagle at the last. That’s unreal. So it really put it on me to make a par.”

The American sprayed his approach to 18 into thick rough right of the green, before punching his third safely onto the green, but 35 feet beyond the hole.

He rolled his first putt three feet past, leaving himself with a testing par putt, which he sank under enormous pressure in the fading light for his first major triumph.

“Sometimes pars are hard, but we got it,” Walker said, before lifting the gleaming silver Wanamaker Trophy.

Walker’s victory completes a year of first-time major champions, joining Masters champion Danny Willett of England, US Open winner Dustin Johnson of the US and Open champion Stenson.

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