Walker eyes unique hat-trick of titles at Waialae

Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:03pm EST
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(Reuters) - Fresh from a tie for 10th at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions on Sunday, Jimmy Walker sets his sights on something "cool" at this week's Sony Open in Honolulu where he will bid for an unprecedented third win in a row.

American Walker cruised to a tournament-record nine-shot victory at Waialae Country Club last year and is now looking to become the first player to land a hat-trick of titles on the PGA Tour since Steve Stricker clinched the 2011 John Deere Classic.

Though three players apart from Walker (Herbert Green, Corey Pavin and Ernie Els) have won the Sony Open in consecutive years since the event was first held in 1965, none of them managed to add a third.

"Oh, it's cool," Walker, 36, told reporters while preparing for Thursday's opening round on the tight, tree-lined layout at Waialae on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. "I'm excited.

"I've never experienced anything like I'll experience (at Waialae), winning two in a row and trying to make it three.

"I've got a lot of good memories coming from there and we're excited to get back."

Walker recorded his first top-10 finish of the season in last week's Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Kapalua Resort where the par-73 Plantation Course is the hilliest venue on the PGA Tour with expansive fairways.

This week, he will have to contend with a very different challenge on the classic par-70 layout at Waialae -- which is flat, tight and fringed with palm trees -- but he has never had a problem in making that transition.

"It's just been a matter of solid putting and quality iron play (at Waialae), said Walker, a five-times winner on the PGA Tour.   Continued...

Jimmy Walker Eric Sucar-USA TODAY Sports