Jason Day did what great champions do on the final hole on Sunday of the PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club.
If Day would not successfully defend the PGA Championship he won in in 2015 at Whistling Straits, he made certain someone else would have to work for it.
Trailing by three shots on the 18th hole, Day made an eagle on the par-5 18th, then watched several minutes later as Jimmy Walker made a 3-foot par putt to win. It was the first major championship victory for Walker, who led the tournament from start to finish.
Day, the world’s No. 1 player, said he did all he could.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Charlotte Observer
“I thought, ‘Let’s try to finish with a bang, give him something to think about,’ ” said Day. “It’s obviously a very special moment for (Walker) to win it. It was nice to see him celebrate with his family and friends. I tried to give it a good run and played pretty decently the whole way. I can’t be disappointed. Jimmy played well the whole week.”
Day, who started the final round a shot behind Walker, matched the winner with a 3-under 67. Day ended with a four-round total of 267, 13-under par.
It was an eventful week for Day, whose family passed around a flu bug after arriving at Baltusrol. He also had to take his wife Ellie to the hospital with an allergic reaction.
“But more so the memories of being able to come back as the defending champion,” said Day. “Going to the champions dinner with my wife. Playing in front of the New Jersey fans, who were pretty loud. It was pretty fun.”
Three who mattered
Jimmy Walker: Managed to make a pressure-packed 3-footer to win a major title look routine.
Jason Day: Eagle on the 18th by the world’s top-ranked player put pressure on Walker. Still he finished solo second at 12 under.
Daniel Summerhays: His final-round 66 allowed him to jump clear into third place at 10 under, three strokes behind Walker.
▪ The tournament got a huge break with the weather Sunday. Although 3.1 inches of rain fell on the course overnight and another six-tenths of an inch came in the morning, it wasn’t enough to push things back any more than they already had been. Play went off as scheduled Sunday, with the third round resuming at 7 a.m. and the final round starting at 8:40 a.m.
▪ Italy’s Francesco Molinari finished his third round Sunday morning with six consecutive birdies.
▪ Charlotte’s Webb Simpson had a strong tournament, finishing tied for 12th at 6 under. His even-par 70 in the final round capped three previous rounds of below-par play. Simpson finished in style with a birdie on the par-five 18th. Another Carolinian, William McGirt, finished seven strokes behind Walker at 7-under. McGirt, who is from Fairmont and played collegiatey at Wofford, got near the leaders Sunday afternoon, finished birdie-birdie on the par-5 17th and 18th holes.
▪ Andrew Johnston, the popular British golfer nicknamed “Meat,” threw his ball and hat into the gallery when he finished his round. Johnston finished with a 1-over 281, including a 71 Sunday. The burly and bearded Johnston took advantage of his recent eighth-place finish in the British Open by signing an endorsement deal with Arby’s fast-food restaurants.
They said it
“A lot of rest. A lot of rest. This was a trying last two months. Take it easy.” – Jordan Spieth, who finished tied for 13th, on his plans for the next two weeks.
“It was pretty much one of my best ball-striking performances from tee to green this year.” – Branden Grace, who tied for fourth.
“I don't know what would hold me back. I'm starting to play some really good golf again.” – Phil Mickelson, on whether he can win another major again.