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Walker challenges 54-hole curse with 4-shot lead at Valero Texas Open

Final Round Preview –PGA Tour –Valero Texas Open– TPC San Antonio AT&T Oaks Course – San Antonio, Texas –

Can Jimmy Walker snap the 54-hole leading curse on the PGA Tour?

That’s the talk heading in the final round of the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio. The latest 54-hole leader to win was Bill Haas at the Humana Challenge back in January. Last week, the 54-hole curse snapped up Henrik Stenson at Bay Hill. Two weeks ago, it was Jordan Spieth, who benefitted from the chasing position, to outplay 54-hole leader Ryan Moore at the Valspar Championship.

Walker, 13th in the Official World Golf Ranking, shot 69 Saturday including three birdies in his final five holes to reach 9-under. He leads by four shots heading into this local 12:35 p.m. tee time Sunday. He plays with Spieth and 2014 FedEx Cup champion.

Spieth is in the chasing spot again this week – looking for this second win in as many starts. But, he opens four back after a sloppy finish Saturday including a bogey and double bogey during his final five holes.

Zach Johnson and Brendan Steele – both former champions at this event – head a group at 2-under and T-4 heading into Sunday. Only 11 players are under par through 54 holes. Phil Mickelson is T-12 at even par. The course can cause problems – more than 30 players shot 80 and up on Thursday. Charley Hoffman, one shot back of Walker heading into Saturday, shot 79.

Walker, who leads the FedEx Cup standings, has had two other 54-hole leads on the PGA Tour this season winning one (at the Sony Open) and losing one (Hyundai Tournament of Champions).

To start the week, www.skybet.com had him as a 20-to-1 betting favorite this week. He is trying to become the tour’s first multiple time winner this season. Watch Spieth early Sunday in the round to see if he can apply some pressure with birdies. But, Walker looks comfortable on the greens.

Other Golf news:

  • Miriam Lee (16-under) takes a one-shot advantage into the final round of the LPGA Tour’s Kia Classic. Leading every round this week, the two-time LPGA Tour champion was a 66-1 pick to open the tournament. LPGA Tour rookie Alison Lee is alone in second followed by Cristie Kerr at 13-under. Miriam Lee last won on tour in China last October.
  • Kevin Sutherland, who flirted with shooting 58 on the Champions Tour last season, leads the Mississippi Gulf Coast Classic with 18 holes to play. Sutherland (9-under) has a dozen players within five shots of the lead including Tom Lehman, who is alone in second at 8-under.
  • Lydia Ko, Paula Creamer and Se Ri Pak are T-5 at 12-under and just four back at the Kia Classic. All will have a chance for a low-round to challenge the lead. Lexi Thompson  (T-9), Inbee Park (T-10) and Stacy Lewis (T-15) are probably too far back to win.
  • George Coetzee, who is looking for back-to-back wins on the European Tour, is three back of Romain Wattel at the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco as the leaders play the final nine holes. Six players were tied for the lead at one point in the final round. Coetzee would earn a Masters bid with a victory. Wattel has reached 9-under overall. Jose Maria Olazabal is T-6 at 7-under after shooting 66.