Defending champ Walker soars to nine-stroke win in Hawaii

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 18, 2015 8:46 PM

(Reuters) - Jimmy Walker slammed the door on his competition and rebounded from last week’s disappointment with a tournament-record nine-stroke victory in the Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu on Sunday.

Walker, the tournament’s defending champion, started the day with a two-stroke lead but strung together three consecutive birdies midway through the round and finished with a seven-under 63 and a total of 23-under par 257.

The previous mark for largest margin of win at the tournament was seven strokes.

Walker’s victory comes a week after he blew a golden chance of capturing the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in neighboring Kapalua, where he led eventual winner Patrick Reed by four strokes with four holes to play before losing in a playoff.

This time Walker showed no sign of letup as he finished his final round with seven birdies and no bogeys.

After leading Matt Kuchar by two strokes for most of the front nine, Walker collected three straight birdies starting with the eighth hole and left the field playing for second place.

Scott Piercy took runner-up honors after a 66 left him at 14-under while Kuchar, Harris English and Gary Woodland all ended up at 13-under.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles, editing by Gene Cherry)