Whilst the majority of golf fans had their eyes fixated on the concluding rounds of this year’s WGC World Matchplay, the PGA Tour hosted a second event this past weekend in the Dominican Republic. Here our Corales Puntacana Championship 2023 Recap!
A fixture on the PGA Tour over the past six seasons, the Corales Puntacana offers a golden chance for some of the Tour’s lesser lights to bag themselves a rare PGA tournament victory.
Played on the picturesque Corales Golf Course, the course is located on the banks of the Caribbean Sea and can offer a stern and breezy test.
However with the wind not proving to be a decisive factor this week, we were treated to a superb and dramatic ending to the tournament.
Matt Wallace makes a late birdie charge to land first PGA Tour title
With none of the world’s top 50 in action at the Puntacana, Englishman Matt Wallace headed into the tournament as one of the favorites for victory.
A four time winner on the DP World Tour, Wallace had never tasted success on the PGA Tour and has had a tough few years when competing Stateside. Having missed the cut in six of his last seven PGA starts, Wallace bounced back to form with a seventh place finish at last week’s Valspar Championship.
Clearly hitting the ball well, Wallace bought the positive momentum with him to the Dominican Republic and led after rounds two and three.
A fiery character, he showed some early signs of nerves as he bogeyed the very first hole of his final round.
With others making moves around him, in particular Danish star Nicolai Hojgaard, Wallace’s four year wait for a title looked like it would continue.
However despite losing the lead, Wallace wouldn’t be deterred and produced a superb finish where he birdied four of the final six holes to win the tournament by one stroke.
The Puntacana would see a rare European 1-2 finish at the top of the leaderboard. An infrequent player on the PGA Tour, Hojgaard had the opportunity to extend the tournament into a play off, but his 20 foot birdie putt on the final hole would just slide by, resigning him to second place – his highest ever PGA Tour finish.
Heading into the final round tied for the lead, American Sam Stevens couldn’t quite find the crucial putts when he needed them most with the American going onto finish in a share of third, three strokes behind Wallace.
There were also positive showings for Wyndham Clark and Thomas Detry. The two players headed into weekend as the two highest ranked players in the field and both played well to finish inside the top ten.
It would have been a pleasing weekend for European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald who will now see Wallace as a live contender to nab one of the twelve spots on offer for Team Europe.
With Wallace’s victory, the Englishman has now earned himself a two year Tour exemption and a place in next year’s Sentry Tournament of Champions. Despite a significant move up the rankings, Wallace will still need to win this week’s Texas Open if he is to make the final field for the Masters.
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