Matt Wallace saved his best golf for the final hole of the Hero Indian Open to earn his second European Tour victory. Wallace birdied DLF Golf & Country Club’s 18th hole to defeat Andrew Johnston in a playoff.
The English pair returned to the par-5 18th hole after tying at 11-under-par 277, three shots clear of former Stanford All-American Sihwan Kim. Johnston laid up while Wallace found the green with his second shot. Johnston couldn’t find the birdie needed to force another hole, and he settled for second when Wallace two-putted.
Johnston also sought his second victory following the 2016 Spanish Open.
Wallace earned a check for $290,000 and rises to 14th on the European Tour money list. Johnston took home $193,000 and improves 33 places to 17th. Wallace closed in 4-under 68, and Johnston closed in 66.
“I played great,” said Wallace, who won last year’s Portuguese Open. “Ever since being 3 over through eight at the start of the week, I’ve played some of the best golf of my life. To do it in that style at the end there capped it off.
“Beef really had a great round today, because I was playing fantastic and thought I might have been a few more clear.
“I hit some really good shots in that playoff. I pumped it down there on the last and it went a long way, and then a four-iron went even farther than I thought it would, so I was jacked up a bit. To hit two shots like that is exactly why I play the game.”
Johnston thought he’d made his birdie putt at the last, but it lipped out to deny him his second win.
“I feel good as I played very well today,” Johnston said. “I was happy to be able to put up a good score today and force a playoff. I’m slightly frustrated as I attempted a similar putt on the 18th during regulation play. I didn’t think it broke that much and I hit a good putt, but it didn’t go in. It’s all right. I had a very good week.”
Wallace now has a European Tour exemption through the 2019 season. Don’t be surprised if he adds more wins before that exemption expires.
“This week has taught me a lot,” he said. “Hopefully, it can be the start of a few things coming up.” Gwk