SAN MARTIN -- On his 188th try, Jimmy Walker finally earned a PGA Tour victory on Sunday at the Frys.com Open.
Walker, in his ninth season on tour, closed with a 5-under 66 at CordeValle Golf Club as he overtook faltering third-round leader Brooks Koepka and held off runner-up Vijay Singh by two shots.
With a 72-hole total of 17-under 267, Walker earned $900,000, a coveted invitation to the Masters and FedExCup points.
"I feel great," Walker, 34, said. "I wouldn't take back anything I've ever done or anything I've ever gone through to get here."
Overall, the Frys.com Open featured young guns and savvy veterans. Small crowds soaked up the birdie-filled action in the first event of the reconfigured tour season. The tournament will relocate to Silverado Resort in Napa in 2014 and 2015.
Walker, a former Baylor star who turned professional in 2001, watched as Singh, who closed with a 68, missed a downhill 40-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole. Then Walker canned a 38-inch putt to clinch the title.
"I know if he makes that, it makes you run through all of these little scenarios: 'I have to make this putt to win,' " Walker said. "Then he missed, and you're like, 'Well, I can two-putt and win this. That's easy.' Snuck it in the hole. I had fun playing with Vijay today."
Things weren't as much fun for Koepka, playing on a sponsor exemption. He held a four-shot lead after making a 44-foot birdie putt on the sixth hole. He shot a 1-over 72 for a 270 total and wound up tied for third, giving back shots back on Nos. 9 and 11, when he left the door open for the field.
"You know, things just weren't going my way," Koepka said. "I didn't execute the shots."
He said his iron game was solid, but he struggled on 5-foot putts under pressure, pulling them to the left.
Walker grinned when he pondered his spot the Masters in April. He'd played Augusta National for the first time in January 2009 with his father and a business friend.
This time, though, a major will be at stake.
"It's a dream come true," Walker said. "It's gonna be amazing, and I'm really looking forward to it. ... It's cool. I came so close last (season) to getting into the top 30 and getting in all that."
Sunday's victory also clinched a spot in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in January at the Plantation Course in Kapalau, Maui.
Former Cal star Max Homa, the 2013 individual NCAA tournament champion, also thrived in his tour debut.
Also playing on a sponsor exemption, he birdied Nos. 16 and 17 to tie for ninth at 272 and earn what he coveted most -- a spot in this week's Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas. Only a top-10 finish would clinch that berth.
Homa could feel the pressure building to get another birdie on the back nine after he'd settled for pars on Nos. 10-15. The birdie finally came when he drained a 4½-foot putt on the par-3 16th, then he two-putted on the par-4 17th after reaching the green off the tee with a 3-wood.
Overall, it was a tournament to cherish for Homa.
"I don't think it gets much better," Homa, 21, said. "Shy of winning, this was pretty awesome, and I think I got into next week, which was almost better than making money at this point, so I'm thrilled."
For the record, he took home $135,000.
Japanese phenom Hideki Matsuyama, at 21 and in his first event as a tour member, shot a 66 and was at 270, along with the 23-year-old Koepka, Kevin Na (64) and Scott Brown (64).
Walker is not lost on the new normal of tour play, in which guys barely past their teens are bursting onto the scene.
"I wasn't good enough to play golf on tour when I was 20, 21, like these guys are. I mean, they are really good," said Walker, who missed the cut in six of his final nine events last season. "I've gone through everything. I've played -- not on every tour, but on a lot of tours. I won on a lot of tours. This is kind of a final steppingstone."
During his three-week break after last season, Walker spent time working out, attended a wedding in Canada and did a "crash session" with famed stroke coach Butch Harmon right before arriving in the South Bay.
Walker, who came close to winning last year, finishing second in The Greenbrier Classic, had six birdies and one bogey Sunday, including a clutch 4 on the par-5 15th.