Top-10 finish for SA's Walters as Wallace clinches Euro title
Englishman Matt Wallace won the BMW International Open by one stroke in Germany on Sunday and thrust his name into the frame for the European Ryder Cup team.
Wallace emerged from a logjam with a closing seven-under-par 65 at Gut Laerchenhof in Pulheim.
He edged out local favourite Martin Kaymer (68), Dane Thorbjorn Olesen (61) and Finn Mikko Korhonen (67).
Wallace finished at 10-under 278 for his second win of the year on the European Tour, adding to his Indian Open triumph, but the 28-year-old is not ready to rest on his laurels.
The leading South African in the field was Justin Walters, who closed with a stunning eight-under 64 to shoot up the leaderboard into joint-ninth place, four shots off the pace.
“I work hard, I believe I can do it, I want to go further and keep building on this,” Wallace told Sky Sports.
“It gives me a lot of confidence. I want to kick on and hopefully do this in the bigger events. I need to play my way into the Ryder Cup, and this is a good start.”
He was referring to the European team to take on the United States in the biennial team competition in Paris in September.
Olesen threatened to steal the title on Sunday by carding 61, the day’s best round by three strokes, and posting a number for the overnight leaders to chase before they had teed off.
But Wallace was up for the challenge, picking off five birdies on the back nine to hit the front before two-putting from long range to par the last. He then waited to see if anyone could catch him.
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Kaymer had a chance at the short par-four 17th, only to hit a poor pitch shot over the green and make bogey. A birdie at the last was too little, too late for the twice major champion, who could not quite ride the wave of encouragement from a huge supportive gallery.
“Strange surreal day really after seeing Thorbjorn shooting 61, definitely the round of the week and on a Sunday probably deserved to win,” said Wallace.
“I said to (caddie) Dave we have to get to 10, and luckily it was enough. The guys at the end there probably feel like they could have got to 10-under.”