It always comes down to putting, doesn't it? You make your putts, you win. Jimmy Walker demonstrated that truism Thursday when he needed only 23 putts to compile a nine-under 63 en route to a two-shot lead at the Shell Houston Open. His round tied the course record set by Adam Scott and Johnson Wagner.
"I putted just so good today," he said afterward. "It was pretty amazing. I made a lot of putts. It seemed like every birdie putt kind of went in. I had one little tester for par that went in, too. I just putted really good." (My old English teacher would say he putted "really well," but let's not quibble.)
Walker, alas, is so anonymous to the golf world at large that there aren't even any photos of his record-tying round. No, his caddy isn't still wearing the bib from last week's Palmer Invitational.
Nick O'Hern and Josh Teater are two shots off the lead. Notables in the mix include Steve Stricker (-5), Lee Westwood and Padraig Harrington (-4), and Phil Mickelson (-2).
And yes, while a win at the Shell would be lovely, there's another prize looming out there: a Masters invitation for the winner if he's not already in. Walker conceded that the thought had indeed entered his head: "Anybody that's not playing at Augusta next week, you know, knows that this is your last chance to punch your ticket," he said. "Yeah, it would be great to win and get to go play ... Win this week, go to Augusta."
He's one-fourth of the way there.