Wallace, who trailed clubhouse leader Thorbjørn Olesen (DEN) by five strokes with nine holes to play, had a bogey-free round of 65 for a 10-under-par total of 278 and victory by one stroke over Olesen, local favourite Martin Kaymer, and Mikko Korhonen, of Finland.
“I would like to congratulate Matt Wallace on a fantastic win at the end of what has been a very dramatic finale. We are delighted that his name will now be the 30th in the list of players to have won the BMW International Open,” said Peter van Binsbergen, Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing BMW Germany.
“The 30th anniversary tournament had everything that has made the BMW International Open so special over the years. Thank you to the golf club, the volunteers, the spectators, our partners and the members of the media for their fantastic support.”
Wallace took the lead with his seventh birdie of the day at the 16th, allowing himself a little fist pump in celebration, and then closed out the round with pars at each of the last two holes. In four days, he had rounds of 73, 69, 71 and 65 and had just four bogeys and a double bogey in 72 holes which, in testing conditions, was equally as impressive as his tally of 16 birdies.
“It is brilliant to win here in Germany,” said Wallace, the winner of the Indian Open earlier this season. “The BMW International Open is such a great event and to play against the likes of Martin Kaymer and the guys at the top is great. I’ve worked hard for this and want to go further. I want to kick on and do this in even bigger events from now on.”
Kaymer, carrying the hopes of the fans and his nation with him, was one behind with two to play but saw his chances disappear with a bogey at the penultimate hole. A birdie at the last was mere consolation. “Unfortunately, the bogey at the 17th came at the wrong time. It’s always nice to win in your own country, but I just came up short,” Kaymer said.
The final day got off to a flying start from the moment Olesen fired the lowest round in the history of the tournament and then sat back to see who could catch him. The Dane started the day seven strokes behind the leaders, but a sensational bogey-free round of 61 that included nine birdies and an eagle gave him a lead of three strokes over the field before the final group had even teed off. In the end, however, his lead was not quite enough.
There was disappointment, too, for Germany’s Max Kieffer, who started the day in a share of the lead but was unable to sustain the momentum of the previous days. Even so, he claimed a top-12 finish that should boost his confidence for the season that lies ahead.
“Starting with a double bogey knocked me out of my rhythm a little. That was obviously a disastrous way to start, but it was really cool and good fun to play with Martin. We both had great support from the spectators, even after poor shots.”
Among the highlights of the week was Aaron Rai’s hole in one at the par-three 16th in the second round that won him a stunning BMW i8 Roadster. All credit that he managed to keep his focus to finish tied for fifth. With the tournament over, he can now enjoy the fruits of his success. As can Matt Wallace – a champion in every sense.
Foto: BMW International Open 2018 Matt Wallace