Jason Day's PGA Championship title defense fell just short Sunday. The reigning champion came in second behind Jimmy Walker, who finished at 14 under for the tournament to stand victorious at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey.
Day wound up a shot back at 13 under, while Daniel Summerhays was all alone in third place and three golfers tied for fourth:
Below is a look at how much the top 10 golfers will earn from the PGA Championship's $10 million purse, per Golf Digest's Joel Beall:
|2016 PGA Championship Payouts|
|Source: Golf Digest|
Little separated Walker and Day throughout the round, and the title went down to the wire.
Walker birdied No. 10 to open up a two-shot lead. He chipped in from the bunker to deliver one of the best shots of the day. The PGA Tour provided a replay:
Day responded in kind with a birdie of his own on No. 11, and Walker then extended his lead after sinking a 30-foot birdie putt, which the PGA Tour shared on Twitter:
Jason Sobel of ESPN.com was impressed by Walker's calm demeanor on the course:
Day had a chance to cut the deficit in half on the 17th hole, but he missed his birdie putt. CBS Sports shared his reaction:
The miss proved pivotal moments later when Walker's birdie putt on No. 17 caught the lip and fell into the cup. The replay from PGA.com showed how slim the margin was:
Day eagled the 18th hole to conclude his tournament. Standing 254 yards from the pin, he opted for an iron instead of a wood and dropped his approach a little under 14 feet from the hole. From there, he picked up two shots to close the gap between him and Walker to a single stroke.
The Guardian's Ewan Murray believes Day is in a class of his own in terms of competitiveness:
That put the pressure on Walker to at least par the final hole. He gambled by attempting, like Day, to reach the green in two shots. His result was different from that of his competitor. Walker's second shot landed well past the green and in the rough. His lie didn't look too encouraging, as this image from PGA.com illustrates:
Walker recovered and set himself up to two-putt for the tournament. PGA.com shared a replay of Walker sealing the PGA Championship:
Slow and steady wins the race, and the adage proved true for Walker. The 38-year-old didn't post his best single-round score of the tournament, but he avoided making too many costly mistakes. Especially with Day not looking his best for much of Sunday, the eventual champion merely needed to be consistent rather than spectacular to win his first major title.
He failed to card a single bogey, which was the first time he had done so in a round since the first day of The Players Championship back in May, per Sobel. Overall from start to finish, Walker was excellent, and Golf Channel researcher Justin Ray put that excellence into perspective:
This is unquestionably the biggest win of Walker's career. He finished tied for seventh at the 2014 PGA Championship—his highest finish in the event. He also has five victories on the PGA Tour, with the last coming at the 2015 Valero Texas Open.
Beyond winning his first major and taking home nearly $2 million, Sunday could have major implications down the road for Walker as Davis Love III fills out the United States team for the 2016 Ryder Cup. Sobel assumes the PGA Championship all but ensures Walker will be making the trip to Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota.
Walker talked about how Sunday's win was hard-earned, per USA Today's Steve DiMeglio:
Sometimes things just don't come easy. Sometimes pars are hard but we got that one. There's a lot of emotion going on out there, I'm not going to lie to you. It was a battle all day long. There was nothing easy about the day, really about the week, for that matter, especially coming down the last hole.
"It was nice to get the eagle, just to try and make Jimmy think about it," Day said of the final hole, per the Associated Press, via PGATour.com. "But obviously, Jimmy just played too good all day."
Day didn't let his loss take away from his happiness for Walker.
"I know exactly how Jimmy feels, because I did exactly that last year, so it was actually quite nice to be able to see him celebrate with his family and friends there," he said, per Joe Juliano of Philly.com. "He's a very deserving winner. So hats off. It's not easy to win tournaments, and he controlled himself pretty darn well all day."