Even par through seven holes Sunday in the final round, Jimmy Walker stepped on the gas making seven birdies in his final 11 holes to shoot 63 and defend his title at the PGA Tour’s Sony Open in Honolulu.
Walker, who was runner-up at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in the first tournament of the calendar year two weeks ago in Maui, posted 23-under overall at Waialee Country Club for a nine-shot triumph. It was his fourth career PGA Tour victory.
The win moved Walker, who celebrated his birthday during the week, to No. 13 in the latest Official World Golf Ranking. He was third on the PGA Tour last year in Birdie Average.
The Top 10 remained largely unchanged led by Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson. Justin Rose swapped places with Sergio Garcia into the No. 5 slot.
France’s Gary Stal shocked Martin Kaymer with a comeback victory at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. Stal climbed 254 places in the rankings to 103rd shooting a bogey-free 65 in the final round. The 22-year-old was better than a 100-1 long shot to win his first European Tour title.
Kaymer’s final-round 75 dropped him to third place behind McIlroy.
Scotty Piercy finished runner-up to Walker and moved inside the Top 100 to 92nd. Heading into the Sony at www.skybet.com, Walker was a 14-to-1 betting selection.
Just two back heading into the final round at the Sony, Matt Kuchar shot 71 and failed to make a birdie. It snapped his run of 255 consecutive rounds with at least one birdie. Kuch, T-3 at the Sony, stayed at 11th in the world ranking.
Other Golf news:
- The Champions Tour tees off its 2015 season this week in Hawaii at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Kona. Bernhard Langer is the defending champion winning last season en route to capturing the season-long Charles Schwab Cup.
- World Golf Hall of Fame member Phil Mickelson makes his 2015 debut this week at the PGA Tour’s Humana Challenge in La Quinta, California. Patrick Reed, who captured the 2015 season opener in Maui at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, serves as defending champion.
- The European Tour hosts the CommercialBank Qatar Masters this week. Sergio Garcia is the defending champion.
- Tiger Woods, who was idle last week, slipped to No. 43 in the latest ranking. He is expected to make his 2015 debut next week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.