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Australians fail to take advantage in Portugal

Ben Eccles was leading Australian at the Open de Portugal. (Photo: Bruce Young)
The Australian contingent failed to capitalise on this week’s Open de Portugal at the Morgado Golf Resort on the Algrave Peninsula with Victorian Ben Eccles finishing 48th and the best of the five who teed it up.

The combined European and Challenge Tour event, with its weaker field than a regular European Tour event, offered a chance for several Australians to improve their claims for European Tour status.

Western Australian Daniel Fox finished 64th and Nick Cullen was the only other Australian to make the cut, ending the week in 68th.    

England’s Matt Wallace held his nerve to complete a sensational wire-to-wire victory and win his first European Tour title and play his way on to the European Tour after being a member of the Challenge and Alps tours until now.   

The 27-year-old finished three shots ahead of American Julian Suri with Frenchman Matthieu Pavon another shot back and alone in third position.  

Wallace won six times on the Alps Tour last season - five of those victories coming in a row - to secure a place on the Challenge Tour.

However, he now finds himself in possession of a European Tour card for the remainder of the 2017 season after maintaining the winning habit in only his fourth event at this level.

"It's the best feeling ever,” said the winner. “It's always been a dream to win on the European Tour. Those first two days were really easy, that third day was the hardest day of my life and today was tough but it's so satisfying and I'm really happy.

"I didn't see it coming, I never envisioned standing here, I just tried to go through my processes and work as hard as I could to be standing here today. Portugal is going to have a place in my heart now."

The European Tour heads to Sicily in Italy this week for the Rocco Forte Open.

GW: 2017 BMW PGA PREVIEW

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Bruce Young
About The Author : Bruce Young

A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of and background in the game of golf comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.

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