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Johnson closed with a 66, despite three bogeys on his card and a missed 5-footer for birdie on the 14th.

Jimmy is playing very well right now,” Johnson said after he finished. “I think it’s going to be tough for him to come back. I see him getting a victory today.”

Renner made five birdies on the back nine for a 67. He would have loved a chance in a playoff, but was quite pleased with the consolation. Having missed all four cuts this year, with starts hard to find considering his low-ranking status, this sets him up well for the rest of the year.

“It was pretty big,” Renner said. “I just knew I needed a good week. My back was up against the wall, and that’s something I’m familiar with and I don’t mind it. But I’m happy that I freed myself up a little bit for the rest of the year.”

So is Walker, who can’t explain what he’s going through right now.

“We’ve always known how good he is,” said Butch Harmon, who began working with Walker two years ago. “You have to believe in yourself, and once he got a win, he believed he’s as good as we’ve all been trying to tell him. And he’s taking it to a new level.”

Jordan Spieth, undone by a 78 in the vicious wind of Pebble Beach on Saturday, fired back with a 67 on Sunday to tie for fourth with Kevin Na (69). Hunter Mahan (72) was fifth, while McDowell (67) was in the group that was five shots behind.

Walker started his eighth season on the PGA Tour in October having gone 0-for-187 in his career. Imagine if someone had said to him at the Open that he would have three wins by February, talked about as the hottest guy in golf, with a Ryder Cup debut looking more and more certain.

Walker only smiled.

“I’d have taken it and run with it,” he said.

Walker can’t explain his fascination with astronomy, why he first asked wife Erin for a telescope in 2009 and now is so advanced that he has it set up in New Mexico, allowing him to capture galaxies remotely and turn them into pictures.

He called that the artistic side of him, and he’s putting together a masterpiece of a season so far.