Matt Wallace has already set his sights on the 2019 Race to Dubai title and he hopes a successful defence of his Made in Denmark presented by FREJA trophy can propel him towards that ultimate season-ending prize.
“I’ll try to win the Race to Dubai now. I have a great chance. It’s still quite early on in the season, but I am in a nice position to try to accomplish that. That’s a goal of mine for sure. I have the best schedule possible and that includes a lot of European Tour events.”
The Englishman has been in fine form in the run-up to his title defence at Himmerland Golf & Spa Resort, finishing in a tie for second place at the Betfred British Masters before producing his best performance at a Major Championship when he tied third at last week’s 101st US PGA Championship.
“Expectations are good. I try not to think about how I want to perform or how I want to win the tournament. I try to lower my expectations as much as possible. I just do what I need to do. I need to prepare as best as I can.”
Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship R2
Wallace, who moved to second place in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex and number 25 in the Official World Golf Ranking as a result, is brimming with confidence as he aims to top a 2018 season in which he claimed three European Tour titles, with victories in the Hero Indian Open and BMW International Open preceding his Made in Denmark triumph at Silkeborg Ry Golf Club.
“This is the first time coming out to defend a tournament. It’s nice to come to a tournament that you know that you’ve won, it brings back memories even though it’s a different golf course. From what I hear, it’s at Himmerland for the next few years or so, it would be nice to win this week and know we are coming back next year.”
Wallace will face stiff competition at Himmerland this week from local favourite Thorbjørn Olesen, who admits he would dearly love to win his home tournament.
“It’s been great here every year. The crowd are amazing, so supportive. That definitely gives you an extra boost. It’s a tournament that I definitely want to win.”
The 29 year old was under immense pressure at this event last year as he entered the final stage of his successful bid to seal a maiden Ryder Cup appearance. After a fantastic season that culminated in that victory for Europe at Le Golf National in September, his elevated profile has led to the creation of a unique feature at Himmerland this week, with a viewing terrace above the club house now bearing his name.
“It was probably one of the toughest weeks last year. It was a different pressure than normally, with the Ryder Cup. Especially with the first round on Thursday I felt the pressure but slowly got into it. It was a nice experience to learn that type of pressure.
“I didn’t actually know about the terrace until this weekend when Flemming (Astrup, the tournament promoter) sent me a text. That is pretty cool and I’m sure there will be a few of my friends hanging out there and having a good time.”