HONOLULU (AP) — Jimmy Walker is trying to join some exclusive company at the Sony Open.
In his lifetime — Walker turns 37 on Saturday — only four players have won the same PGA Tour event three times in a row. Tom Watson did it at the Byron Nelson Classic. Stuart Appleby did it at Kapalua. Steve Stricker won three in a row at the John Deere Classic. Tiger Woods did it on six occasions.
Walker gets his shot at Waialae Country Club when the Sony Open starts on Thursday.
He won in 2014 by pulling away from the pack with a brilliant putting performance on the back nine and closing with a 63. He defended his title last year by setting the tournament record with a nine-shot victory thanks to his 62-63 weekend.
Walker doesn't expect it to get any easier.
"It's going to be even more of a challenge," he said. "I saw something the other day about the list of people that have won an event three times in a row, and it's small. There's some really good names on it. ... It's hard to do. It's hard to win two in a row, let alone three times in a row."
The field is not quite as strong this year — no one from the top 10 in the world, with Adam Scott at No. 11 the highest-ranked player.
That doesn't mean it will be any easier when the first full-field event of the year gets underway:
Walker once won four straight tournaments, but that was long ago.
"I won my 4A regional golf tournament (in Texas) four years in a row, freshman through senior," he said.
His putting stood out the last two years, particularly in 2014 when he made four straight putts through the 17th hole to seize control. Walker, however, believes his driving was equally responsible. Power isn't an issue. Accuracy can be, and he was dialed in for the tight, tree- and water-lined fairways.
Walker has been working on a new swing move with Butch Harmon since November and appears to be making fast strides. He tied for 10th last week at Kapalua.
This article was written by Doug Ferguson from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
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