Jimmy Walker leaning on experience during Masters run

Jimmy Walker hits a shot from the 17th fairway during the second round of the 2014 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Jimmy Walker hopes he can lean on his three PGA Tour victories this season when he makes a run for the Masters title this weekend.

“I think that will help,” said Walker, who shot an even-par 72 Friday and heads into Saturday’s third round in a tie for seventh at 2-under 142, five shots behind leader Bubba Watson. “I’ve learned some patience, and that’s the biggest thing for me. Learning not to let one bad hole or a couple derail your quest. You never know what’s going to happen. So you’ve got to stay in a positive frame of mind. You can make four birdies in a row, or three, or two.”.

Walker did make four straight birdies down the stretch in his first-round 70 Thursday at Augusta National. He had three birdies and three bogeys in his round Friday.

And Walker, playing in his first Masters, used some creativity on two of the final three holes.

The first example came at the par-3 16th, where Walker flew the green with his tee shot.

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“I had 172 yards, and the wind felt into my face,” Walker said. “There were ripples on the pond. I put the ball back in my stance and just flushed it. The wind didn’t touch it.”.

His ball came to rest against the collar of the fringe. Walker used the toe of his putter on his second shot and got it to 10 feet from the cup.

“That’s about all I had,” Walker said. “I was pretty toast.”.

Walker, who was tied for second at one point Friday, missed the par putt to slip back to even par for the day.

“I hit a good putt there,” Walker said. “I thought I made it.”.

His drive on the 18th hole came to rest in a fairway divot, and he hit his second shot fat. Facing an elevated chip to a front pin, Walker used the slope on the 18th green to his advantage. His shot went a good 15 feet past the hole, caught the ridge and rolled back to 3 feet. He made the putt for a closing par.

“I’ve seen that shot on TV,” Walker said. “You know it will come back.”.

Walker said you can attack Augusta in certain spots if you execute, and that will be his plan this weekend.

“You can pick and choose,” he said. “If you hit a good drive and have a good number, I think you need to try and hit a good shot. It’s out there.”.

Rick Brown writes for the Des Moines Register, a Gannett property.

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