Jimmy Walker snatches one-shot victory over Jason Day at PGA Championship
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 01/08/16 8:05pm
Jimmy Walker completed a wire-to-wire victory as well as a clean sweep of maiden major champions in 2016 after holding off a sensational finish from Jason Day to claim the 98th PGA Championship.
The storms that decimated play on day three relented on Sunday, and Walker coped admirably with having to play 36 holes in one day as rounds of 68 and 67 earned him a one-shot win over the world No 1, who had piled on the pressure with an incredible eagle at the 72nd hole.
All credit to Jimmy, and Butch
Paul McGinley celebrates a deserved victory for Jimmy Walker and his coach Butch Harmon
The defending champion struggled to make much happen down the stretch until he knocked a sublime 255-yard second to 13 feet at the last, but with the roars of the crowd up at 18 easily audible to Walker on the 17th green, he responded by holing a pivotal eight-foot putt for birdie.
Day prompted further huge cheers from the vast galleries when he knocked in his putt for a closing three to reduce Walker's lead to just a single shot, and the tension increased when the Texan blocked his three-wood second into the greenside rough.
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But the 37-year-old held his nerve to clip a safe pitch 35 feet beyond the pin and, after his birdie putt slid an uncomfortable three feet past the hole, he rattled in the return to close out a flawless round and secure the biggest victory of his career.
Walker had earlier recovered from an uncertain start to the morning, stuttering to the turn in 36 before hitting back with four birdies on the back-nine to reclaim the outright lead after 54 holes on 11 under par.
The 37-year-old then parred every hole on the front nine of his final round before giving himself a useful cushion over the chasing pack with a superb hole-out from a greenside bunker for birdie at the 10th, which he followed with a 35-foot putt for another gain on the next green.
Walker was then content to grind out the pars as Henrik Stenson faltered down the stretch and Day was unable to make inroads into his lead until setting up a thrilling finale with his closing eagle that capped his second 67 of the day.
The defending champion was arguably the favourite after starting the final round just one shot off the lead, but wayward tee shots led to bogeys at the first and third, although he hauled himself back into the mix with a birdie at seven before converting a precise iron to four feet at the ninth.
The defending champion rolled in a 22-foot putt at the 11th to get to 11 under, but he was unable to better par until his moment of magic on the 72nd hole.
Stenson's bid to become only the second player in history to win two majors in the same month was hampered by a cold putter, although he did get one to find the target from 20 feet on the sixth.
But the putts that were dropping for the Swede during his record-breaking win at Royal Troon were in scarce supply at Baltusrol and his race was run when he flew the green with a wedge from the fairway at the 15th and duffed a chip as he ran up a double-bogey six.
Daniel Summerhays won the race for third as he produced a finish the leaders would have paid handsomely for, making birdies at five of the last seven holes to sign off with a 66 which lifted him to 10 under par.
Branden Grace enjoyed another strong major performance and rolled in his fourth birdie of the day at the 13th to reach 10 under, only to three-putt the 16th green before pulling his final tee shot into water.
The South African salvaged a closing par to return a 67 for a share of fourth with Brooks Koepka (70) and Hideki Matsuyama, who barely missed a green in the final round but had only two birdies at 11 and 18 as reward.
Stenson laboured to a 71 to finish on eight under alongside playing partner Martin Kaymer, who eagled the last to post a 66, while joint halfway leader Robert Streb was also tied for seventh.
Tyrrell Hatton followed up his excellent week at The Open with another top-10 finish, a solid 68 lifting him to seven under along with fellow Englishman Paul Casey, while 2008 champion Padraig Harrington and last year's runner-up Jordan Spieth were a further stroke adrift.