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Hometown win indescribable for Walker

Cool demeanor with solid performance led to comfortable victory at the Valero Texas Open

Jimmy Walker spent the entire week battling the elements at TPC San Antonio. So when he arrived at the 18th hole with a four-shot lead, he finally allowed himself the chance to soak up the moment. 

For most of the final round, it was Walker who played the part of the “cool” customer. When Jordan Spieth birdied the opening hole to cut the lead to three, Walker didn’t waver, matching the two-time PGA Tour winner shot-for-shot for most of the afternoon. 

When he found the trees off the tee on No. 4 – a tee shot Walker called his “worst driver of the week” – Walker managed to get up-and-down for bogey to keep a big number off the card. 

For the first nine holes, it appeared the final result would be a foregone conclusion when Walker extended his lead to five shots with a birdie on 8. With the exception of a birdie on the opening hole of the day, Spieth took on the role of spectator on the front nine, never getting closer than three shots. 

It looked to be much of the same on the back nine until No. 14 when Spieth rolled in a 45-footer for birdie that sparked a wild finish to the round. While it was a situation of too little, too late, Spieth gave the current FedExCup points leader all he could handle over the final five holes. Following a birdie on 14, Spieth took dead aim on the next hole, hitting his 147-yard approach shot to 9 feet and converting the birdie putt. It was more of the same on the next two holes, as Spieth used a combination of precision iron play and a hot putter to record four consecutive birdies on Nos. 14-17. 

Walker went on to match Spieth’s birdies on 16 and 17, all but ending the threat and leaving the 21-year-old wishing that he would’ve put the pressure on earlier in the round. Even with the wayward shots during the final round, Spieth has still been one of the most consistent players on Tour over the last five months, winning three times worldwide and recording eight top-10 finishes. It’s one of the reasons why he feels so good about his game with the first round of the Masters less than two weeks away.

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