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Jimmy Walker stays hot at Pebble
He didn't exactly put the foot on the gas during a stumbling Sunday 74, but Jimmy Walker is on some kind of roll. Walker saw his six-stroke third-round lead at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am dwindle to one, but he was able to coax in a five-foot par putt on 18 to finish off a one-shot win over Dustin Johnson and John Renner. The win is Walker's third in eight tournaments in the 2013-14 season — a start that puts him in some rare company.
"There wasn't a whole lot to celebrate coming down the stretch today, it just felt like I was kind of leaking oil and I felt like I gave it a pretty good little, pretty good little outburst on the last hole," Walker said after a cathartic fist pump on Pebble's impossibly picturesque par-5 18th. "... Holy cow."
Holy cow, indeed. Walker sits atop the FedExCup and Ryder Cup points standings, and he's vaulted himself into the major championship conversation after playing in only six majors in what was, until recently, a nondescript career.
"I think I am more equipped," Walker said of the major opportunities in front of him. "I'm playing better than I have been. ... It's what you want to make it in your head, I think. I really look forward to all of it. It's going to be awesome."
Here are the weekend's key numbers:
4 Walker becomes the fourth player to win as many as three tournaments in eight or fewer events to start a season, joining Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and David Duval. Tiger's done it eight times.
4 Walker was also the fourth winner at Pebble Beach to shoot 74 in the final round, joining Johnny Miller (1994) and Dustin Johnson (2010), as well as Graeme McDowell at the 2010 U.S. Open.
23 Walker has improved his position in the World Golf Rankings by 23 spots in his first eight tournaments of 2013-14. He ended the 2013 season ranked 47th and is currently 24th.
-14 Jordan Spieth was a cumulative 14-under par in his first, second and fourth rounds of the tournament. A third-round 78, when Pebble Beach was baring its fangs, left him out of contention. He finished three shots back after a final-round 67.
1 Web.com Tour graduate Jim Renner made the cut for the first time in the fifth tournament of his rookie season, and he made it count, finishing tied for second, a single shot behind Walker. Renner did get a trophy for his efforts; he teamed with Consolidated Restaurant Operations CEO John Harkey Jr. to win the pro-am competition.
When your name is Woods and you play golf (and you bear more than a passing resemblance to your famous uncle), you feel a special kind of pressure. Cheyenne Woods, daughter of Tiger's half-brother Earl Woods Jr., did the family name proud this weekend, winning the Australian Ladies Masters on the European LPGA. But she's anxious to forge her own identity, which she's now well on her way to doing. "I've been pro for two years and, for the majority of it, people just think of me as Tiger Woods' niece, so now I have a game of my own and I have a title now, a win, which is exciting," she said. "It's nice now to say to people that I can play and I'm not just a name."