T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.
2013 Frys.com Open and more | Weekend in review
Series: Golf Buzz
Published: Sunday, October 13, 2013 | 10:03 p.m.
Not to toot our own horn here, but "beep, beep!"
In this space last week, we offered up five players to watch at the 2013-14 season-opening Frys.com Open at CordeValle Golf Club.
One of the players on that list was Jimmy Walker, the man who fired a 5-under 66 on Sunday to get to 17-under 267 total and claimed his first PGA Tour win.
Here's the reason we gave for why you should watch out for Walker:
"It's almost unfathomable that the 34-year-old is still winless on the PGA Tour. It just seems like he's always in the mix. In 2013, for instance, he notched 10 top-25 finishes. Five of those were top 10s. Walker had six top 10s in 2012 and four in 2011. It's only a matter of time before he finally kicks the door in. Walker has got to be jacked for his start at CordeValle this week too after missing out on the Tour Championship by a mere six spots."
How about that? Walker's 17-under mark tied 2011 champ Bryce Molder with a tournament record low score at CordeValle.
The tide turned for Walker when he made a 30-foot birdie putt to grab a share of the lead at 16 under on the 13th hole. One more birdie -- on the par-5 15th -- helped Walker to the two-shot victory over Vijay Singh.
Here's that bigtime birdie on No. 13:
PGA Professional Nick Bailey -- the Director of Golf at CordeValle -- noted in last week's "Local Knowledge" that the 15th hole could be a pivotal one... and he was right.
What does this mean for Walker? Well, for starters, it pays to get your win early. Walker now has a two-year exemption through the 2015-16 season, an invitation to the 2014 Masters (his first trip to Augusta National) and a spot in the field for the 2015 Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii (only winners from the 2013 Hyundai Tournament of Champions through the 2013 Tour Championship are eligible for the 2014 Hyundai Tournament of Champions in January).
It also made for a very happy Mrs. Walker:
So damn proud of @JimmyWalkerPGA and his longtime friend and caddy Andy Sanders. They both deserved this. ❤️
— Erin Walker (@tourwifetravels) October 14, 2013
Japan's Hideki Matsuyama was also among the players on our watch list. Coming off his first appearance in the Presidents Cup a week ago, Matsuyama impressed with his tie for third at the Frys.com Open.
This week, the PGA Tour heads to Las Vegas for the second tournament of the 2013-14 season, the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin.
EUROPEAN TOUR: David Lynn turns 40 next Sunday. This Sunday, he decided to celebrate a week early by capturing his first victory on the European Tour since 2004 with a win at the Portugal Masters.
At 18 under, Lynn edged out Justin Walters by one shot. Amazingly, Lynn was tied for 16th entering the final round, but snagged the victory with a brilliant, 8-under 63 that included key birdies on three of his final five holes.
In other news, Miguel Angel Jimenez didn't exactly have the best finish -- a tie for 57th -- but with his ace at the par-3 eighth holes, it'll still be a memorable one because the prize for the ace couldn't have been a more fitting for the man known as the "world's most interesting golfer."
With the hole-in-one, Jimenez took home 100 bottles of something called, "Sexy" wine:
Miguel's prize for a hole-in-one? 100 bottles of Sexy wine. Cheers! pic.twitter.com/kxmgO18oA5
— The European Tour (@European_Tour) October 13, 2013
Jimenez wasn't the only person with a special hole in one recently.
Last week, we told you about the man dressed as a dog who won a car for a hole-in-one; a blind man who had an ace in the UK; and an extra-special hole-in-one by 10-year-old Austin Jet.
This week, the European Tour travels to Australia for the ISPS HANDA Perth International.
LPGA: On the LPGA Tour, 18-year-old Lexi Thompson notched a dominating four-shot victory over Shanshan Feng in the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia.
It was Thompson's second career LPGA victory to go along with her win at the 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic in Alabama.
Thompson's victory may also go a long way toward lending a hand to fellow teenager Lydia Ko. Last week, the 16-year-old Ko -- already a two-time winner on the LPGA Tour as an amateur -- made the decision to turn professional.
The LPGA requires its members be at least 18 years old, but Ko has filed a petition seeking a waiver to the rule.
Thompson did the same thing when she was 16 and was granted a waiver shortly thereafter.
Back to Thompson on Sunday. Her victory was the third by a teenager on the LPGA this season. For some perspective, Jordan Spieth's victory at the 2013 John Deere Classic was the first by a teenager on the PGA Tour in 82 years.
Thompson sent out this tweet after her win:
— Lexi Thompson (@Lexi) October 13, 2013
Next up for the ladies on the LPGA is the LPGA KEB-HANABANK CHAMPIONSHIP in Incheon, South Korea.
CHAMPIONS TOUR: Russ Cochran picked a good time to go on a birdie run. After an 8-foot putt dropped on the final hole at the SAS Championship Sunday, Cochran had his fourth consecutive birdie and a one-stroke victory over David Frost.
It was the 54-year-old Cochran's second win this season and his fifth on the Champions Tour.
"David played a great round, and I knew someone was going to play well," Cochran said. "I was hoping to hang around there and kind of catch fire. And it took every hole to do that.
The Champions Tour heads to Conover, N.C. this week for the Greater Hickory Kia Classic at Rock Barn.
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
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