Matt Wallace hangs on for wire-to-wire success in Portugal
English golfer claims first European Tour win in just his fourth event
Matt Wallace of England celebrates victory with the trophy after the final round of the Open de Portugal at Morgado Golf Resort in Portimao. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
England’s Matt Wallace held off a two-pronged assault on the final day to claim his first European Tour title with a superb wire-to-wire victory in the Open de Portugal in Portimao.
Wallace held a five-shot lead at the halfway stage and was still three ahead starting the final round, but saw his advantage reduced to a single shot, first by German Sebastian Heisele and then American Julian Suri.
However, the 27-year-old Englishman held his nerve to card four vital birdies in a closing 69, his third bogey-free round of the week at Morgado Golf Resort giving him a winning total of 21 under par.
Suri had piled on the pressure with nine birdies in his first 15 holes, but bogeyed the 17th and had to settle for a closing 65 and second place on 18 under. France’s Matthieu Pavon was two shots further back in third, with Heisele sharing fourth with England’s Sam Walker on 15 under.
Wallace won six times on the Alps Tour last season – including five in a row – to secure a place on the Challenge Tour, but now has a full European Tour card after just his fourth event at this level.
“It’s the best feeling ever,” Wallace said after rounds of 63, 66, 73 and 69. “It’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.
“A good friend of mine, Tom Lewis, won here in Portugal and I spoke to him yesterday and he has great memories here and I’m going to as well.
“I didn’t see it coming, I never envisioned standing here, I just tried to go through my processes and work as hard as I could to be standing here today.”
Ireland’s Gary Hurley finished in a tie for 42nd position after closing with a three-over 75.