Six days after losing a tournament on Maui he felt he should have won, Walker turned in a command performance Sunday on Oahu. He blew away the field with a 7-under 63 to win the Sony Open for the second straight year.
His fourth career victory was the most impressive of all. On a course that lends itself to a free-for-all, Walker shot 62-63 on the weekend and never gave anyone much of a chance, winning by a tournament-record nine shots. The previous record was seven shots, last set in 2000 by Paul Azinger.
Walker became the first repeat winner at the Sony Open since Ernie Els in 2004.
Walker had a three-shot lead with five holes to play at Kapalua last Monday when he wound up losing to Patrick Reed in a playoff at the Tournament of Champions. With a quick turnaround, he quickly put it behind him. “I really wanted to finish out the day like I didn’t do last week,” Walker said. He finished at 23-under 257.
Walker made all seven of his birdies over the final 11 holes, and he couldn’t miss on the back nine. He took a total of 20 putts on the back nine at Waialae in the third and fourth rounds. And even with a big lead, he kept grinding away over putts he didn’t need to make.
It was the largest margin of victory on the PGA Tour since Brian Gay won at Hilton Head by 10 shots in 2009. This was more reminiscent of the last time someone lost in a playoff, and then won the next week. That was Kyle Stanley in 2012, though the circumstances were entirely different.