Matt Wallace’s stumble sees Adrian Otaegui waltz to victory in the Scottish Championship at St Andrews
- Adrian Otaegui roared back from four shots behind to deny Matt Wallace
- World No 248 Otaegui, 27, carded a stunning final-round 63 to win by four
- Overnight leader Wallace was second after a 71 with Aaron Rai (66) third
There was no robot dance this time from Matt Wallace at the Scottish Championship at St Andrews. Just a final round from the 30-year-old Londoner that lacked any rhythm from the start.
Instead, all the nifty moves came from the Spaniard Adrian Otaegui, who waltzed his way to a first strokeplay title courtesy of a wonderful 63.
Twenty-four hours earlier, there had been a little Saturday night fever from Wallace after holing a marvellous bunker shot at the 17th hole on the Fairmont course, situated a couple of miles outside the Auld Grey Toun. ‘That’s for you, Graham,’ he said, referring to his short game coach Graham Walker, as he boogied his way out of the sand.
Adrian Otaegui poses with the trophy following his victory at the Scottish Championship
Wallace began the final round four shots ahead of Otaegui, but ended it four strokes adrift as the 27-year-old from San Sebastian, mentored by Jose Maria Olazabal, showed off a wizard’s touch around the greens worthy of his legendary compatriot.
The man with a full set of vowels to his name put together a card full of birdies, no fewer than 10 in all, to complete a feat that always eluded Olazabal — a professional victory in Scotland, and at the Home of Golf at that.
‘I can’t tell you how happy I am to win in Scotland, and by playing so well,’ said Otaegui. ‘I holed so many important putts.’
And so, one of the few good things to come out of this wretched pandemic — an extended UK swing featuring 10 tournaments over three months — ended in a rare misstep by an Englishman. It seemed written in the stars for a man called Wallace to win in Scotland and notch the sixth English victory during the sequence but, while flat-footed on the day, he can console himself with the thought that it was still his best finish of an uneven season.
Matt Wallace’s final round at St Andrews lacked any real rhythm from the beggining
The next three places were all claimed by Englishmen as well, with Aaron Rai following up his Scottish Open victory a fortnight ago with another podium finish.
Joint fourth place alongside Chris Paisley went to Garrick Porteous, the 30-year-from the North East ranked 819th in the world, who actually put more heat on Otaegui than Wallace until tripping himself up with three dropped shots in his last three holes. Porteous brought a wonderful amateur career to a close with victory in the 2013 Amateur Championship but he has struggled for long periods in the pro ranks. This was the best finish of his career on the main tour and hopefully he will now train on.
There will not be 10 UK tournaments in 14 weeks in 2021 but you can be sure there will be a lot more than had been the norm and hopefully, of course, they will all be blessed with thousands of spectators.
As for the tour, this season like no other now moves on to Italy this week, followed by Cyprus and South Africa, before concluding with two events in Dubai in December.
Otaegui celebrates with his caddie after securing victory on the 18th green on Sunday
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