Jimmy Walker has three PGA Tour wins this season. Image courtesy of skysports.com
Jimmy Walker did his best to throw away a near certain win in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am last weekend. After closing with a 74, Walker had Dustin Johnson and Jim Renner hot on his heels, but the in-form Oklahoma City native managed to hold on for his third win this season. After starting out with victory in the Frys.com Open in October, Walker has been on a tear of late after also lifting the trophy at the Sony Open in Hawaii in January.
The Riviera Country Club, where this week’s Northern Trust Open is being held, is a personal favourite of Walker’s. The extremely tight layout is one of the toughest non-major courses on the PGA Tour, but Walker has excelled in recent times. Since missing the cut on debut here in 2005, he has advanced to the weekend on all six occasions, and twice he has tied for fourth without breaking through for a win.
Johnson also happens to have an impressive record at the Pacific Palisades course. He has three top-10s in the event, including a tie for 3rd in 2010 and 4th in 2012. Like Walker, he comes in to this event in red-hot form, with five straight top-12 finishes. He should be fresh after taking a four-week break prior to last week’s tournament at Pebble Beach.
Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson are the other players on hot streaks coming in to this event, but Bill Haas has had as much recent success at Riviera than just about any current player, apart from Phil Mickelson. He won in a playoff in 2012, tied for 3rd last year, and also finished in a tie for 12th in 2011.
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