Matt Wallace described it as a dream come true after he held his nerve to complete a sensational wire to wire victory at the Open de Portugal at Morgado Golf Resort. Having held a five shot lead at the halfway stage and gone into the final round three clear, Wallace saw his advantage reduced to a single stroke by first German Sebastian Heisele and then American Julian Suri.
But the 27 year old Englishman found birdies at key times and produced a third blemish-free round of the week to sign for a closing 69 and 19 under par total.
That was three better than Suri, who rattled in nine birdies in his first 15 holes only to ease the pressure on Wallace slightly when he dropped his only shot of the day at the 17th.
France’s Matthieu Pavon was third on 16 under, with Heisele and England’s Sam Walker a shot further back in fourth.
“It’s the best feeling ever. It’s always been a dream to win on the European Tour”, said Matt Wallace. What a talent! He won six times on the Alps Tour last season – five of those victories coming in a row – to secure a place on the Challenge Tour. However, he now finds himself in possession of a European Tour card after maintaining the winning habit in only his fourth event at this level. “It’s the best feeling ever. Iit’s always been a dream to win on the European Tour.
“Those first two days were really easy, that third day was the hardest day of my life and today was tough but it’s so satisfying and I’m really happy. However, with Suri looming, it was a five iron third to tap-in distance following a poor drive at the par-five 13th that set up a birdie to send him two clear again, and another gain at the 16th sealed victory in style.
Surprising winner in Portugal, perhaps so, but just give a look to The Players, nicknamed 5th Major, with a monstrous prize money of $10.5 million. And who takes the jackpot? Not an American, not the top section of the European brigade, Poulter, Oosthuizen, Cabrera Bello, only 2nd, 3rd, 4th, still a good show. No, it’s a genuine Korean talent. Si Woo Kim, 21 years old, turned pro when he was just 15… He lives in California and has already $3,866,826 on his bank account. At Sawgrass, he left behind him a long string of “names” who didn’t perform well, McIlroy with a sour back, “Master” Garcia and a 78(!) on the 4th round. Our tip, putt his name down for your next bet at William Hill, your usual bookie. His odes should still be favourable. ETC/PPH