We now know Jimmy Walker as the smooth-talking Texan with the laid back demeanor and steely stare. Before winning six PGA Tour events and the 2016 PGA Championship, though, Jimmy arrived at the 2013 Fry’s.com Open having started 187 events on tour without a victory. Sunday, October 13th, 2013, was the day that would all change.
2013 marked the beginning of a new “era” on the PGA Tour. For the first time, the PGA Tour’s “wraparound” season would begin immediately upon the conclusion of the FedEx Cup Playoffs and Presidents Cup. Prior to 2013, the Tour would take October through December off; hosting a few “silly season” events that were thrown into the mix sparsely. Not anymore, though. Then called the Fry’s.com Open and played at CordeValle Golf Club, the event kicked off the inaugural Fall Season schedule.
In a tinge of irony, the man who has recently convinced the masses he is incapable of blowing a lead, Brooks Koepka, well, he blew a lead on this day. Despite starting three shots ahead of Walker, Koepka went on to shoot a final round 72; the worst score of any player in the top-10.
Koepka wasn’t the only big name Jimmy Walker would get past on this day, though. A young Hideki Matuyama, fresh off his first appearance in The Presidents Cup, fired a final round 66 to get into the hunt and finish tied for third, three back of Walker.
34-time PGA Tour winner Vijay Singh was also hot on Walker’s heels all day. Both entered the final round tied and would battle back and forth until a birdie on the 15th hole propelled Walker ahead. At that point the only man with a real shot at catching Walker, was Koepka. After an errant tee-shot on that same 15th hole found the water, Koepka’s hopes of victory were sunk. His final round 72 would result in a tie for third.
Pars on Walker’s final three holes would be more than enough, as he held on for a two-stroke victory. Jimmy would then go on to win twice in his next seven starts; by a stroke at both the Sony Open in Hawaii and the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in California.
Walker is not in the field for this years Safeway Open, nor is the tournament being played at the same course. You better believe he won’t be forgetting his first win anytime soon, though.