The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

June 15, 2013

Mark Walker claims Adams Pro Golf Tour event at Peoria Ridge

MIAMI, Okla. — Mark Walker picked the right day to shoot the tournament’s best round.

The 44-year-old professional from Hurst, Texas, posted an 8-under 64 on Saturday at Peoria Ridge Golf Course and captured first place in the $100,000 Buffalo Run-Prairie Moon Casinos Classic. Walker’s final round propelled him to a four-day score of 20-under, three strokes ahead of Friday’s leader Shawn Jasper.

Walker entered Saturday in third place, trailing Jasper by two strokes in the Adams Golf Pro Tour Series tournament.

“I came out to the range last night and hit some balls,” Walker said. “I was having a little trouble with iron play, and I kind of ironed that out. I came out this morning and felt pretty loose. I started out on the first hole and hit the fairway to birdie the hole. Then, I was off and running.”

Walker birdied the first two holes and posted nine birdies for the round. His only bogey came on hole No. 18 when he already held a big lead.

He earned $15,000 for the victory. It was Walker’s second win over eight Adams Series tournaments this year.

“Winning at no matter what level, it’s always great,” Walker said. “It’s a confidence builder and can propel you to great things down the road.”

Jasper, of Marthasville, Mo., shot a 3-under 69 on Saturday to cap a consistent tournament of 68-66-68-69.

“All you want to do every week is just give yourself a shot,” he said. “Things have to go your way to win golf tournaments, especially with all of the good players here. I put myself in position ... I had five bogeys for the week, so it’s not like I left a whole lot out there.”

However, Jasper said he could have had a lot more birdies if his putter cooperated the final two days. The former All-American from Missouri settled for an $8.330 pay day.

“I hit it really well again today,” Jasper said. “I didn’t drive it quite as good. I hit my irons pretty solid. Again, I just didn’t make anything. I hit every green on the back nine and had looks at birdies. I burned the edge on almost all of them. All you try to do is give yourself looks. I wanted to force Mark (Walker) to shoot a number, and he did. So congratulations to him.”

Australian Rika Batibasaga, who entered Saturday one stroke behind the lead, shot 3-under and finished in third place. He finished the tournament at 16-under after scores of 71-66-67-69.

Derek Tolan, Gregor Main and Sam Powell tied for fourth at 15-under. Main led the tournament after the first two rounds, but shot a 74 on Friday to fall out of contention.

Walker’s 64 was the best round of the day and for the tournament. Tolan, Justin Kaplan, Jason Meece and Chris Naegel all posted 65s on Saturday.

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