In the end, it was a fitting conclusion to the tournament with a great new champion being crowned.
“Matthew Walker earned it. He doesn’t just play golf. He comes out here every day and works on his game trying to get better,” Cedar Creek course manager Greg Wilson said. “He definitely earned this championship.”
Defending men’s champ Dusty Stewart entered Sunday with the lead by a stroke over Walker after a four-under first round 67 on Saturday. A front-nine round of 40 left Stewart at even par for the championship, where Stewart would finish to take third place this year.
“That’s just golf. That’s how it goes sometimes,” Stewart said of his final round. “Matt played well. He deserved to win.”
While Stewart gave back all four shots to par on the front nine Sunday, Walker played the front nine in one-under par. Only Mike Tiller had a better opening front stretch on Sunday in the Men’s Championship Flight.
After playing all 18 holes with the Ottumwa junior golfer, Stewart could see why Walker was able to not only contend, but beat a field of men at such an early age.
“He played well. He’s a great player,” Stewart said. “He handled the pressure well. All of us have more golf experience, but he gets to play every day too. In the end, he handled everything really well and deserved this championship.”
Walker has already competed in several major tournaments, most recently battling into a playoff to try and win the Iowa Junior PGA title before finishing eighth an Iowa Masters Tournament that also included top older players from around the state. The reigning Iowa Junior Golfer of the Year and defending 4A State individual champion certainly isn’t intimidated to mix it up with more experienced golfers.