Jimmy Walker’s first PGA Tour trophy came with a special gift tucked inside: A yellow “Masters 2014” flag.
It was a not-so-subtle reminder that the Frys.com Open in San Martin, Calif., is no longer a Fall Series event for players to chase their tour cards, but the start of the PGA Tour’s new 2013-14 season that comes with all the perks.
In his eighth season and his 188th tournament — and with a little help from 23-year-old Brooks Koepka — Walker won a back-nine duel Sunday by making a 6-foot birdie putt on the 15th hole and closing with three pars for a 5-under 66. That was enough for the 34-year-old Texan to win by two shots.
“This was the final stepping stone,” said Walker, who has played on more tours than he can recall to get to the big leagues.
It turned out to be a learning experience for Koepka, who had a four-shot lead with 11 holes to go until he began missing short putts, all to the left. It started with a 3-foot par putt miss on the ninth. The most significant was a 6-foot birdie try on the 15th hole that would have matched birdies with Walker and regained a share of the lead.
Koepka bogeyed the next two holes and closed with a 72 to tie for third.
AMERICAN WOMAN WINS
Lexi Thompson won the LPGA Malaysia by four strokes, giving the 18-year-old American her first victory of the season and second on the LPGA Tour.
Thompson finished at 19-under 265 at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
Left-hander Russ Cochran holed an 8-foot putt on the final hole for his fourth straight birdie and a one-stroke victory over David Frost in the SAS Championship on the 50-and-over Champions Tour in Cary, N.C.
Cochran closed with a 5-under 67 to finish at 17-under 199.
England’s David Lynn shot an 8-under 63 to come from six shots behind to win the Portugal Masters. … Charl Schwartzel, who won the 2011 Masters, shot a closing 4-under 68 to win the China Masters by one shot over Darren Clarke.
Tracking Locals on the PGA TOUR
Last week: Frys.com Open, CordeValle Golf Club, San Martin, Calif.
In the field: Gig Harbor’s Kyle Stanley, University Place’s Michael Putnam and Olympia’s Andres Gonzales.
Final-round scores: Gonzales shot a 2-under-par 69, Stanley had a 1-under 70 and Putnam had a 3-over 74.
Position: Gonzales (10-under 274) tied for 16th, Stanley (7-under 277) tied for 33rd and Putnam (1-under 283) tied for 62nd — all trailing winner Jimmy Walker (17-under 267).
Recap: Gonzales has to be pleased with his showing. He was close to the top 10 when he went 11 under for the tournament with a birdie at the 10th. But he put his tee shot on the par-3 11th in a front greenside bunker, and missed a 15-foot putt for par. … Stanley had a quick start, making birdies on three of his first four holes. But he gave it all back with three bogeys over his next seven holes. … Putnam went out in 4-over 39 with bogeys at Nos. 2, 4, 6 and 8.
Next: Gonzales, Stanley, Putnam and Puyallup’s Ryan Moore, the defending champion, are in this week’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open starting Thursday at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas.email@example.com