European TourSeptember 2, 2018

Matt Wallace's playoff win costs Lee Westwood his chance to end his three-plus-year winless drought

Matt Wallace
Warren Little/Getty Images

It was a week of questions and (some) answers at the Made in Denmark. Perhaps the biggest of those was the response of Matt Wallace to the challenges presented by three of his fellow Englishmen during what was a pulsating final round Sunday at Silkeborg Ry Golf Club. Two over par after four holes and, later, seemingly out of contention after a poor bogey at the drivable par-4 12th, Wallace made five birdies in his final six holes to get to 19 under par and haul himself into a playoff with compatriots Lee Westwood, Steven Brown and Jonathan Thomson.

Even more impressively, Wallace completed his third victory of the 2018 season with birdies at each of the two extra holes. The first eliminated Westwood and Thomson; the second finally closed out the brave challenge of Brown, whose previous best finish on the European Tour was T-7 in Sicily earlier this year.

“To win in that style is special,” said Wallace, previously victorious at the Hero Indian Open and the BMW International this year. “That just says who I am—my grit and determination is what I am all about. I never shy away from the big occasion.”

Sadly, the same cannot be said for the aging Westwood. Leading after 54 holes, the 23-time European Tour winner shot a closing two-under 69, highlighted by the impressively consistent tee-to-green play that once took the 45-year-old to No. 1 in the world.

Warren Little/Getty Images

Westwood, with his girlfriend/caddie Helen Storey, couldn't hold on to the lead he took into the final round.

Also in evidence, however, was the increasingly weak putting that has done much to keep Westwood from winning any tournament since April 2015. After missing from short range on both the 12th and 13th greens, Westwood also came up woefully short with birdie putts on each of the last two greens. While all three of the eventual runners-up will surely leave Denmark thinking what might have been, it is Westwood who will look back with most regret.

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