Jimmy Walker fends off challenges of Day, Summerhayes and Stenson to claim his first Major Championship
When American Jimmy Walker won the PGA Championship on Sunday he became the fourth first-time Major winner of the year.
With Danny Willett’s Masters triumph, Dustin Johnson’s victory at The US Open and Henrik Stenson’s historic win at Royal Troon, 2016 is the first time in five years that all four Major Championships have been claimed by maiden winners.
Walker also secured his place in The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale in 2017 through his impressive win at Baltusrol.
The 37-year-old held off the world number one, and defending PGA champion Jason Day, to finish with a bogey-free three-under-par 67 and top the leaderboard on 14-under-par, one shot clear of the New Zealander.
Day’s late charge included a remarkable eagle at the last, achieved in the knowledge that Walker had moved three ahead as he approached his 10ft putt. The Australian will have to wait until next year for the chance to record his second Major win.
Daniel Summerhayes finished in third place on 10-under-par. The American notched his second top ten finish in a Major Championship at Baltusrol, following his performance at the US Open at Oakmont in June.
Despite having to complete two rounds on the final day, after Saturday’s play was suspended due to storms, Champion Golfer of the Year Stenson played with real confidence after producing his finest golfing performance to record the lowest ever winning total at The Open.
Stenson, who at one point on Sunday trailed Walker by just one shot, was well placed to challenge the American. But the Swede suffered a double-bogey six at the 15th hole, after his approach went through the green, and never recovered.
Walker, who also crammed 36 holes of golf into Sunday, was just too good for the rest of the field. He dealt with the conditions better than anyone else, and delighted fans with an exquisite chip-in from the bunker at the 10th hole.
He opened his challenge on Thursday with a five-under-par 65, which was followed by a 66 to hold the halfway lead on nine under with fellow countryman Robert Streb. Walker opened his final round with nine straight pars and maintained that steadiness till the end.
Not even a wayward second shot that landed in greenside rough at the 18th, after Day’s eagle, could unsettle the champion in waiting. After chipping to 35 feet from the hole, he rolled his first putt to 3ft and calmly holed out to secure the famous Wanamaker Trophy.