Frys.com Open: Jimmy Walker is on right path after maiden win, says Denis Pugh
Last Updated: October 14, 2013 11:02am
Jimmy Walker: can now set his sights on playing the Masters, at Augusta
Jimmy Walker's breakthrough win proves he has come of age as a pro golfer, says Denis Pugh.
Walker claimed his first PGA Tour title at the 188th time of asking with a two-shot win over Vijay Singh in the Frys.com Open. Read our report here.
"Jimmy has given himself plenty of opportunities before so it must be a great relief for him to finally get over that hurdle"
The 34-year-old, coached by Sky Sports pundit Butch Harmon, started the day tied for fourth but came out on top after carding a five-under-par round of 66 as rookie Brooks Koepka struggled to a 72 that left him in a share of third.
"The quality of Walker's game has always been there but he's been a little bit loathed to finish it off," reflected Pugh.
"Part of it has been his own undoing - he hasn't been hitting attacking putts at the right time. It's about knowing when to push the 'go' button and when to take the lag and two putt.
"It's about having the nous to do the right thing at the right time and, likewise, Brooks Koepka will learn from it too.
"We have a veteran of nine years winning today and a guy playing his first PGA Tour event and both of them will be pretty excited about what happened. I think Brook will take this as a defeat but one that he will learn from.
"It all really depends on his reaction to what happened. Does he go on thinking 'I've pretty much got this' or does he feel completely deflated and say 'I've let a possible win go'? I'm hoping it's the first one."
Andrew Coltart - part of Europe's 1999 Ryder Cup team - watched the final round alongside Pugh in the Sky Sports studio and agreed that Brooks, who shot rounds of 67, 64 and 67 in the opening three rounds, should look back on his achievement with some satisfaction
"I think this will be an enormous relief to Jimmy," said Coltart. "He is a great player, he's got a great swing; he's given himself plenty of opportunities before so it must be a great relief for him to finally get over that hurdle.
"He'll probably wonder what all the fuss has been about, but he's done it now and let's see where that takes him.
"I think both he and Brooks will have learnt a tremendous amount. Koepka will obviously be disappointed because I thought he was going to win and I believe he thought he was going to win.
"He's not won, so everyone thinks that is a negative, but the great positive is that so long as he can sit back, look at it and say 'right, what happened, where was I mentally?' he can make a massive step by making the right choices."
Koepka had a putt on the last to tie for second with Singh but it failed to drop after hitting the left edge and so he finished third alongside Kevin Na and Scott Brown, who both finished strongly with rounds of 64.