Matt Wallace made an impressive case for a Ryder Cup wild card with a third win in his last 15 starts, a victory completed in dramatic fashion in front of captain Thomas Bjorn in the final qualifying event.
Wallace birdied five of his last six holes to finish 19 under par and get into an all-English four-man play-off with Lee Westwood, Steven Brown and Jonathan Thomson at the Made in Denmark event at Bjorn’s home course in Silkeborg.
The quartet returned to the 18th for the first extra hole and Brown piled the pressure on his opponents with an approach to three feet, but Wallace hit his to seven feet and both made birdie, while Westwood and Thomson were eliminated with pars.
Wallace and Brown then headed back to the par-four 18th and Wallace produced an even better approach to set up a winning birdie from four feet as Bjorn looked on.
Bjorn’s fellow Dane Thorbjorn Olesen had earlier secured the final automatic place on the team to face the United States at Le Golf National at the end of the month when Matt Fitzpatrick was unable to claim the victory he needed.
Fitzpatrick could only finish in a tie for seventh despite back-to-back rounds of 66 over the weekend and joins the likes of Wallace, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey and Rafa Cabrera Bello in anxiously waiting to see Bjorn’s four wild card selections on Wednesday.
Asked if his win had given Bjorn a selection headache, Wallace said: “I’ve given myself one! That play-off was pretty mental, four-man, to keep the 100 per cent record going as well from the one in India (where he beat Andrew Johnston) is really nice.
“To do it in the style I’ve done it, I’ve birdied the last five holes including the two play-off holes, is pretty special. That just shows who I am right there, my determination, my grit and that’s what I’m all about.”
Olesen, who surged into Ryder Cup contention with a victory and four other top 10s in his last nine events before this week, said: “It’s been an incredible summer, a lot of pressure but I’ve been playing well and it’s been a lot of fun.
“I’ve watched the Ryder Cup since I was six or seven years old and it looks special. Two years ago I got a bit of the experience watching it all from Thomas’ buggy and I think that will help me a little bit.
“It’s going to be a great team and hopefully we can get the trophy back to Europe.”
Olesen joins fellow rookies Jon Rahm, Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood and Alex Noren in the side alongside Open champion Francesco Molinari, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy.
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