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SAN MARTIN, Calif. -- Jimmy Walkers first PGA Tour trophy came with a special gift tucked inside. A yellow "Masters 2014" flag. It was a not-so-subtle reminder that the Frys.com Open is no longer a Fall Series event for players to chase their tour cards at the end of the year, but the start of the PGA Tours new 2013-14 season that comes with all the perks. And it was a reminder to Walker that he gets to go places where he always felt he belonged. In his eighth season and his 188th tournament -- and with a little help from 23-year-old Brooks Koepka -- Walker won a back-nine duel Sunday by making a 6-foot birdie putt on the 15th hole and closing with three pars for a 5-under 66. That was more than enough for the 34-year-old Texan to win by two shots. "This was the final stepping stone," said Walker, who has played on more tours than he can remember to get to the big leagues. It turned out to be a learning experience for Koepka, who had a four-shot lead with 11 holes remaining until he began missing short putts, all of them to the left. It started with a 3-foot par putt that he missed on the ninth hole. The most significant was a 6-foot birdie attempt on the 15th hole that would have matched birdies with Walker in the group ahead and regained a share of the lead. Koepka bogeyed the next two holes and closed with a 72 to tie for third. "Things just werent going my way," Koepka said. "I just didnt make the shots I needed to win. Congrats to Jimmy on that. He played very well. But just try to learn from the whole experience. Any time you can put yourself in that kind of pressure, its always good. It you take something from it, thats even better." Walker finished at 17-under 267 and cracked the top 50 in the world ranking for the first time. Vijay Singh closed with a 68 and wound up with the 27th runner-up finish of his Hall of Fame career, and his best result since he sued the PGA Tour in May over its procedure in investigating Singhs admission that he used deer antler spray. Koepka tied for third with Kevin Na (64), Puerto Rico winner Scott Brown (64) and Hideki Matsuyama, the 21-year-old Japanese star who has joined the PGA Tour. Matsuyama, who played in the Presidents Cup last week, birdied his last three holes for a 66. Along with the Masters, Walker also gets to go to Maui in January for the Tournament of Champions, another place he has never been, and he is assured a spot in the PGA Championship for only the fourth time in his career. "I felt like I was good enough to be in them, play in them," Walker said. "Theres always this big pressure to get into Augusta, and I would press here, press there. You want to be playing in the big stuff. Thats what Im aspiring to do -- play against the worlds best." It wont be his first trip to Augusta National. Club member Paul Sarvadi invited Walker and his father about five years ago, one of Walkers favourite memories even in the chill of winter and a light rain. His father, a scratch golfer who once shot 60, birdied three of the par 5s. Walker shot 72 one day, and played the back nine in 35. "A cool experience," he called it. Koepka was playing on a sponsors exemption that he received without asking. Tournament officials identified him as a potential star when he started the year with no status on any tour, and then won three times on the Challenge Tour to earn his European Tour card. He qualified for the British Open the day after his third Challenge Tour win. He was between stops in Scotland and Shanghai, and now his plans are slightly altered. Koepkas finish gets him into Las Vegas next week before he goes back to the European Tour for the BMW Masters in China. Billy Hurley III closed with a 68 and NCAA champion Max Homa from Cal birdied two of the last three holes to tie for ninth. That gets them in Las Vegas. Koepka won all of his Challenge Tour events in Europe with the 54-hole lead, experience he figured could only help. For eight holes, he was on the verge of running away from the field. He rammed in a 45-foot birdie putt on the sixth hole to reach 17 under, and when Singh in group ahead three-putted the seventh for bogey from about the same range, Koepka had a four-shot lead. It was gone in four holes. Koepka had about a 15-foot birdie putt from the collar of the par-5 ninth green that went about 3 feet by the hole. But the stroke on his par putt looked a little quick, and it caught the left lip and spun out for a bogey. On the par-3 11th, he pulled a 6-foot par putt. That dropped him into a tie for the lead with Walker, who was in the group ahead and had made a 15-foot birdie on the eighth and a two-putt birdie from long range on the ninth. Asked if there was a putt that unsettled him, Koepka said, "Maybe the putt on 9. That wasnt very good." They traded birdies -- Koepka with a 3-footer on the par-5 12th, Walker with a 30-foot putt from the fringe on the 13th, setting the stage for the decisive stretch at CordeValle -- the par-5 15th that could be reached in two, the par-4 17th that played 297 yards over the water. And thats where it was decided. "I cant get too down on this week," Koepka said. "I know Ill be criticized. But this year has been amazing. This week I played well. It happens to the best of them." Cheap Saucony Running Shoes . That assertion is getting harder and harder to make, especially given the way 23-year-old Danilo Gallinari has been playing this season. Saucony Shoes Clearance . Less than 24 hours after the Wolves lost at home to the Mavericks, 100-98, NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn announced Tuesday that Kevin Love was fouled on his right arm by Shawn Marion in the closing seconds and should have been awarded two free throws. http://www.wholesalesaucony.com/ . - The New England Patriots needed help on defence so they added three experienced players at midseason. Cheap Saucony Shoes . The 31-year-old Spain midfielder hasnt played since Madrid lost in the Copa del Rey final to Atletico Madrid in May due to back and foot injuries. Cheap Saucony Sneakers . Directly ahead was open field, the end zone and the Seattle Seahawks place in the NFC championship game.INDIAN WELLS, Calif. - Montreals Eugenie Bouchard advanced to the round of 16 at the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday after downing Italys Sara Errani in straight sets. Bouchard, ranked 18th in the world, hit 36 winners and needed just 75 minutes to dispose of 10th-ranked Errani 6-3, 6-3. The 20-year-old Bouchard won 76 per cent of her first serve points in the match. Her next match will be against No. 7 Simona Halep of Romania. On the mens side, Vancouvers Vasek Pospisil fell 6-0, 6-2 to Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan in the second round in just over an hour. It was Pospisils first match after getting a first round bye as the tournaments No. 25 seed. Spains Roberto Bautista Agut knocked out Tomas Berdych, also in the second round, beating the fourth-seeded Czech player 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. Berdych had won 11 matches in a row in February and is 16-4 this year. "He really handled the tough situation today really well," Berdych said. "But secondly, more important to me, anything I touched today was basically bad and was wrong. So really, just to recap it, definitely my worst match that I had this year. Thats it, you know." Two-time tournament champion Novak Djokovic, seeded second, was a 7-6 (1), 6-2 winner over Victor Hanescu of Romania in their second-round match. "I was not very happy with my performance but it was a straight set win," Djokovic said. "Im going to have to work very hard on the practice court to get better." Second-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska coasted into the fourth round with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Annikka Beck of Germany, and 2011 champion Caroline Wozniacki topped qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 7-6 (7), 3-6, 6-1.dddddddddddd. In the late match, No. 7 seed Jelena Jankovic overcame back problems to defeat Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia 6-3, 6-2. Sixth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro withdrew because of ligament damage in his left wrist. The Argentine player also pulled out of the Dubai tournament last week. Ninth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France also dropped out, falling 6-4, 6-4 to countryman Julien Benneteau. John Isner, the No. 12 seed and the only remaining American from the original 14-man contingent, advanced with a 7-6 (5), 6-3 victory over Russias Nikolay Davydenko. Isner, slowed by an ankle injury earlier this season, said he feels good physically and mentally. "Its a situation thats very good for me," the 6-foot-10 former University of Georgia player said. "In the U.S., (on a) hard court that bounces high and pretty slow, and have the fans on my side, I cant ask for anything more. All the surroundings bode extremely well for me. So Im in a good place." He said he wasnt concerned about upholding American honour, either. "No, I dont," he said. "I guess yesterday wasnt a great day for our American men. But, you know, selfishly, Im just worried about myself, really. I certainly want all those guys to do well. But at the same time, its not my concern at all. My concern is myself and just trying to keep moving forward and keep getting better and get back to where I want to be." ' ' '
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