OTTUMWA — He was a boy playing among men over the weekend.
In the end, he made it look like child’s play.
So it went this weekend for Ottumwa’s young golf prodigy and the local talent that tried to beat him, but it was also an opportunity to watch a young talent developing before their very eyes. Try as they might, nobody in the field could keep 16-year-old Matthew Walker from picking up his first win of the year in his first time out at the Greater Ottumwa City Golf Championships on Sunday.
For Walker, it was a pretty proud moment.
“It feels good. It’s my first time winning it, so that’s always a good accomplishment,” Walker said after winning the title with a two-round four-under par 138 total. “It feels good to do it on my home course.”
After Walker rallied on the front nine in the Men’s Championship Flight on Sunday to open a two-shot lead, dark clouds and heavy rain descended on Cedar Creek Golf Course. Golfers were brought in off the course with a distinct possibility that the Men’s portion of the tournament would have to be shortened to 27 holes due to the weather.
Instead, the decision was made to wait until 6 p.m. By then, the rain had gone and just enough daylight remained for Walker to hold off Aaron O’Brien for the title. Holding onto a one-shot lead with two holes to go, the soon-to-be Ottumwa High junior birdied the par-5 17th while O’Brien made a critical bogey to give him a three-shot cushion.
“It was actually pretty nerve-racking, especially after AOB (O’Brien) birdied 15 to get within one of me,” Walker said after a par on the 18th clinched the three-shot win. “It was a little nervous for a few holes as we were getting late.”