PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – The finish wasn’t what Jimmy Walker wanted. The result is what he’s come to expect.
Walker led by as many as six shots Sunday in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, only for it to be decided by his final putt. He ran his birdie attempt 5 feet by the hole, and had to make that for par to close with a 2-over 74 and a one-shot win over Dustin Johnson and Jim Renner.
It’s drama, man, Walker said on the 18th green. It was too much for me.
But it was a familiar outcome for Walker, a 35-year-old Texan who only four months ago was regarded as one of the best players to have never won on the PGA Tour. This was his third win of the PGA Tour season, a streak that began in October about an hour away at the Frys.com Open.
Walker joined some exclusive company. He is only the fourth player in the last 20 years to win three times in his first eight starts to a season. The others are Tiger Woods (who has done it eight times), Phil Mickelson and David Duval.
For a brief moment, it looked as though Walker might have a chance to join Greg Norman and Sergio Garcia as players to lose a six-shot lead in the final round.
He was never seriously challenged until Johnson, and then Renner, put together a strong finish. Johnson, a two-time winner at Pebble Beach, closed with a 66 on a card that included three bogeys. Renner, who had yet to make a cut all year, made five birdies on the back nine for a 67.
Walker finished on 11-under 277 and earned $1.188 million, expanding his lead in the Ryder Cup standings to more than $1 million over Mickelson in second place. The Ryder Cup is based on PGA Tour earnings, though there are still four majors, three World Golf Championships and The Players Championship remaining.
CHAMPIONS: In Boca Raton, Fla., Michael Allen won the Allianz Championship for his sixth Champions Tour title, beating Duffy Waldorf with a two-putt birdie on the second hole of a playoff.
After Allen holed out on the par-5 18th, Waldorf had a chance to extend the playoff, but missed an 8-foot birdie putt after finding the front bunker in two.
EUROPEAN: In Johannesburg, George Coetzee came from four shots back to win the Joburg Open and his first European Tour title with a final-round 6-under 66 and claimed an added bonus by qualifying for the British Open.
Coetzee’s finish took him to 19-under 268 overall and past South African compatriots Thomas Aiken and Justin Walters.
LADIES EUROPEAN: In Gold Coast, Australia, Cheyenne Woods won the Australian Ladies Masters for her first major professional tour victory, holding off 17-year-old Australian amateur Minjee Lee by two strokes. The 23-year-old Woods, Tiger Woods’ niece, closed with a 4-under 69 at Royal Pines to finish at 16-under 276.