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PGA Championship: Jimmy Walker edges Jason Day for first major title

By Gethin Coolbaugh, The Sports Xchange
Jimmy Walker holds the Wanamaker Trophy standing with his wife Erin after the final round at the PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey on July 31, 2016. Walker won the championship and his first major with a score of 14 under par. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
1 of 8 | Jimmy Walker holds the Wanamaker Trophy standing with his wife Erin after the final round at the PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey on July 31, 2016. Walker won the championship and his first major with a score of 14 under par. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP, N.J. -- Jimmy Walker captured his first major championship with a one-shot victory over Jason Day in the 98th PGA Championship on Sunday at Baltusrol Golf Club.

Walker, 37, finished at 14-under-par 268 after a final-round 67.

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Day finished second at 13 under after his 67. Daniel Summerhays (66) was third at 10 under, while Branden Grace of South Africa (67), Hideki Matsuyama of Japan (68) and Brooks Koepka (70) tied for fourth at 9 under.

Walker, ranked No. 48 in the world, had five prior wins on the PGA Tour, but his highest major finish was a tie for seventh place at the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla in Louisville, Ky.

The Oklahoma City native became the first wire-to-wire PGA champion since Phil Mickelson's 2005 win at Baltusrol.

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Walker held the 18-hole lead and shared the advantage with Streb after 36 before reclaiming it through 54.

The victory capped a streak of first-time major winners in 2016, as England's Danny Willett (Masters), Dustin Johnson (U.S. Open), and Sweden's Henrik Stenson (Open Championship) each captured their elusive firsts this year.

A quartet of first-time winners hadn't prevailed at all four of the year's majors since 2011.

Walker parred his first nine holes on the 7,450-yard Lower Course at Baltusrol. His signature shot of the round came at No. 10, where his 23-foot bunker shot dropped into the hole.

On No. 11, Walker rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt to move two shots clear of the field.

Day was unable to become the sixth player to win consecutive PGA Championships. He was attempted to be the first to accomplish the feat since Tiger Woods in 2006-07.

The top-ranked Australian won his first career major at last year's PGA Championship, claiming a three-shot victory over Jordan Spieth at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis.

Day opened with bogeys on Nos. 1 and 3 but spread three birdies and 10 pars over his next 13 holes.

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With a chance to make up ground on the two closing par-5s, Day missed a birdie putt for a par on No. 17.

After regrouping from the gallery roar of Day's second shot on No. 18, Walker notched a three-shot lead with a birdie on the 17th.

Day eagled the 18th to put pressure on Walker, who sent his second shot on the final hole into the right rough.

Walker popped his third shot 11 feet past the cup and rolled his fourth 3 feet away. He then sank his par putt to stave off a possible three-hole aggregate playoff.

Stenson (71), Germany's Martin Kaymer (66) and Robert Streb (69) tied for seventh at 8 under. England's Tyrrell Hatton (68) and Paul Casey (67) and William McGirt (70) tied for 10th at 7 under.

Spieth shot a 68 to finish tied for 13th at 6 under.

Mickelson finished birdie-birdie to complete his 68 and finish at 3 under for the tournament. He tied for 33rd at.

Willett's closing 70 dropped him to a tie for 79th at 5 over.

NOTES: Jimmy Walker claimed the $1.8 million winner's share of the $10 million purse and 600 FedExCup points. ... Sunday's final round was played with preferred lies for the first time ever at a major, allowing players to lift, clean and place balls that lied on a closely mown area through the green. "The Rules of Golf are there to cover the weather," PGA chief championships officer Kerry Haigh said. ... Weather warnings were posted at 10:57 a.m. EDT but were removed at 11:22 a.m. once lightning was no longer a concern. ... The Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn., is the next event on the PGA Tour schedule, beginning Thursday. Bubba Watson won the event last year, beating England's Paul Casey in a playoff.

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