This week’s alternate event on the PGA Tour, the Corales Puntacana Championship, which is played opposite of the World Golf Championships Match Play, was crowned a first-time PGA Tour winner in Englishman Matt Wallace.
Wallace shot a final round 6 under par 66 to beat Denmark’s Nicolai Hojgaard by one shot. Hojgaard had a putt on the final hole to try and force a playoff, but it just slid by.
Wallace’s Sunday round saw him go out in a 2 under 34. On the back, he turned it on with four consecutive birdies on holes 13, 14, 15, and 16. He closed with two pars, which was enough to claim the win.
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Matt Wallace’s key stats for the week included the following:
- T1- Birdies- 24
- T1- Fewest Bogeys- 3
- T4- Scrambling- 84.21% (16/19)
- T11- Greens in Regulation- 73.61% (53/72)
- T14- Putts per GIR- 1.679
What Is Matt Wallace’s PGA Resume?
The 32-year-old Wallace has had 4 international wins before today’s victory. His first was at the 2017 Open de Portugal. In 2018, Matt won three times, the Hero Indian Open, the BMW International Open, and the Made In Denmark. On the DP World Tour, Wallace has had 91 made cuts in 122 starts. In addition to his 4 wins, he has had 6 runners ups, 4 thirds, and 10 other top 10’s.
Wallace made his PGA Tour debut in the 2020 season. Before today’s win, his best finish since joining the PGA Tour was a 3rd at the 2021 Valero Texas Open.
At the 2019 PGA Championship, held at the Black Course at Bethpage State Park, and before he became a full-time member of the PGA Tour, Wallace finished tied for 3rd behind winner Brooks Koepka.
This season, prior to this week’s event, Matt had only made 5 cuts in his 11 events played. Those made cuts included two top 25s, a T-21 at the Fortinet Championship back in September, and a T-7 last week at the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook, on the treacherous Copperhead course.
What Did Matt Wallace Have To Say After His Win?
After the round today, Wallace summed up his week like this…
“The self-talk was very good today. I’ve been working very hard, since the Player, on it. Realized at the Players, out of the 145 shots I hit, to miss the cut by one, two of those, I spoke to myself well…two shots out of the whole week. So, that’s not good enough…that’s not going to get the job done. So, very happy down those last few holes. I knew I could do it and I played great all week…and yeah, just came out on top and am very lucky.”
Wallace has been known to get a little fired up over his career. He has also been known to be very hard on himself. His ability to stay in the moment, and have more positive self talk, since the Players Championship, has shown in the results he has gained the past two events…his T7 at the Valspar, and now this week, with the victory at the Corales Puntacana Championship.
Additionally, over the course of the last few years, Wallace has not been very happy about the state of his game. He has felt like he’s been missing out on opportunities because of it.
Over the past year, Matt has been dedicated to getting things right. He has totally retooled his swing and really took a hard look at all aspects of his game.
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Today’s win represents the culmination of all the hard work that has been put in over that time.
“Yeah, a thanks to all my coaches… Liam James, Robert Rock, and now Matt Belshum, who I started with and then got back with this year. And there are so many people to thank…my family…I miss them at home…yeah, it’s cool…this is cool.” Said an emotional Wallace.
Wallace picked up 300 FedEx Cup points for the win, a two-year PGA Tour exemption, 24 OWGR points, but unfortunately, no invitation to the Masters Tournament, which takes place in two weeks at famed Augusta National.
Wallace will still have a chance, however, next week, at the Valero Texas Open to punch his card to this year’s Masters at Augusta.
Wallace started the week at 108 in the FedEx Cup rankings. Following today’s victory, he is projected to jump 63 spots, to the number 45th spot. This year’s chase for the FedEx Cup will see fifty-five fewer players qualify for the 2023 Playoffs, with only the top 70 making it to the FedEx St. Jude Championship. As of now, Wallace is in good standing…but there is a long way to go.
More About The Corales Golf Club at the Puntacana Resort
Since 2016, the Puntacana Resort and Club, in the Dominican Republic has played host to the Corales Puntacana Championship. In 2016 and 2017, the event was a former Web.com Tour event. Since 2018, the event has been on the PGA Tour schedule as an opposite event to the World Golf Championships Dell Technologies Match Play. The WGC event, which is played at Austin Country Club in Austin, Texas, is being held for its final year in 2023.
The Corales Puntacana Championship is held on the Corales Golf Club at the Puntacana Resort and Club. The par 72, 7670-yard Fazio design is a beautiful seaside track with amazing cliffs and inland lakes. It can be quite treacherous at times when the wind blows. This year however, the scoring was pretty strong.
Matt Wallace has a bright future ahead of him. The work he has been putting in recently with his game is starting to pay dividends, as was clearly the case today in the Dominican Republic.
What is even more impressive, and something that all golfers should take note of is his change in attitude. In this game, attitude really is everything. Good self talk, a positive outlook and being able to put aside bad shots as they happen is key. Matt Wallace now knows this better than he ever has before.
Congratulations to Matt Wallace on his first PGA Tour victory. I am confident that it will not be his last.
PGA Professional Brendon Elliott is the founder of Little Linksters, LLC, and its nonprofit arm, the Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development. He is the winner of 25+ prestigious industry honors, including the 2017 PGA National Youth Player Development award. Brendon is a respected coach, businessman, writer, and golf industry expert.