PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Even with his high-powered telescope, Jimmy Walker might have had a hard time finding himself among the stars.
Just four months ago, Walker began his eighth season on the PGA Tour with no wins in 187 attempts. With a little more drama than he wanted Sunday in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, he held on for his third victory in his last eight tournaments.
In the last 20 years on the PGA Tour, only Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and David Duval have won so often so early in a season.
"I don't know if it was just a matter of doing it once and then having it happen again and then happen again," Walker said holing a 5-foot par putt on the 18th at Pebble Beach for a 2-over 74. "I've always felt like I could win out here, and I think that's what you have to believe to be out here — that you belong and that you can win. And finally, it happened. And it's cool that it's happened a couple more times. Quickly."
He was feeling a little more heat than he needed only another cool, cloudy afternoon on the Monterey Peninsula.
Walker had a six-shot lead at the start of the final round. He was still five shots clear when he made the turn, and he was two shots ahead with two to play. With two putts for the win from 25 feet, he ran his birdie attempt about 5 feet by the hole and had to make that to avoid a playoff with Dustin Johnson and Jim Renner.
"It's drama, man," Walker said on the 18th green. "It was too much for me."
The finish wasn't what he wanted. The result was what Walker has come to expect.
He was never seriously challenged until Johnson, and then Renner, put together a strong finish. Johnson, a two-time winner at Pebble Beach, closed with a 66 on a card that included three bogeys. Renner, who had yet to make a cut all year, made five birdies on the back nine for a 67.
Walker made a 10-foot birdie on the 11th hole and was seemingly on his way.
But he hit a poor chip on the par-3 12th for a bogey. He three-putted the 13th for a bogey. He three-putted the 17th for bogey, missing his par putt from 31/2; feet.
"I hate three-putting," Walker said. "I had two of them back there, and definitely didn't want another one on the last."
Walker finished on 11-under 277 and earned $1.188 million, expanding his lead in the Ryder Cup standings to more than $1 million over Mickelson in second place. The Ryder Cup is based on PGA Tour earnings, though there are still four majors (which count double), three World Golf Championships and The Players Championship remaining.
For now, the stars are aligned for Walker better than anything he sees through his high-powered telescope, his hobby over the last five years.
"I just go out and play golf," Walker said. "This is what I want to do and I've worked really hard to do it, to be here, and to be in this position and it's really cool."
Jordan Spieth had to return Sunday morning to complete his third round, which ended with his sixth three-putt of the round for a 78. He faced Pebble at its most vicious throughout the third round, though he bounced back with a bogey-free 67 to at least tie for fourth with Kevin Na (69).
And he hasn't lost his sense of humor.
"Yesterday was a day where you want to play Pebble Beach in that weather once in your life," Spieth said. "You just don't want it be Saturday when you're in the lead."
Chalk it up to another learning experience for Spieth, who said his 36 putts were more a product of not having the speed than the less-than-smooth quality.
"I felt like I needed birdies when I didn't," he said.
Australian Ladies Masters
At Gold Coast, Australia, Cheyenne Woods won the Australian Ladies Masters for her first major professional tour victory, holding off 17-year-old Australian amateur Minjee Lee by two strokes.
The 23-year-old Woods, Tiger Woods' niece, closed with a 4-under 69 at Royal Pines to finish at 16-under 276. Lee also shot 69 in the event sanctioned by the European and Australian tours.
Woods birdied the par-5 15th to open a two-stroke lead, hitting a wedge from about 120 yards to 4 feet. On the par-5 18th, she matched Lee with a birdie, holing out from 11/2; feet.
From Phoenix, Woods is the daughter of Earl Woods Jr., Tiger Woods' half brother.
Woods turned professional in 2012 after an All-America career at Wake Forest and her only previous pro victory came in 2012 in a SunCoast mini-tour event. In December, she missed the cut in the LPGA Tour's qualifying tournament in a failed bid to earn a spot on the circuit.
At Boca, Raton, Fla., Michael Allen won the Allianz Championship for his sixth Champions Tour title, beating Duffy Waldorf with a two-putt birdie on the second hole of a playoff.
After Allen holed out on the par-5 18th, Waldorf had a chance to extend the playoff, but missed an 8-foot birdie putt after finding the front bunker in two.
Allen closed with a 3-under 69 to match Waldorf at 18-under 198 on The Old Course at Broken Sound. Waldorf, winless on the 50-and-old tour after winning four times on the PGA Tour, shot 67.
They each birdied the 18th in regulation and on the first extra hole.
In the first round, Allen matched the Champions Tour record with a 60.
At Johannesburg, South Africa's George Coetzee rallied to win the Joburg Open for his first European Tour title and a spot in the British Open.
Coetzee closed with a 6-under 66 at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington to finish at 19-under 268, three strokes ahead of countryman Justin Walters (73), England's Tyrrell Hatton (66) and South Korea's Jin Jeong (71). Jeong and Walters took the other two British Open places available in the event.