Matt Wallace Shoots Record-Breaking 60 to Take Lead at DP World Tour Championship
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — In a stunning display of skill and precision, Matt Wallace of England made history at the DP World Tour Championship on Saturday. Wallace tied a DP World Tour record by sinking nine consecutive birdies, shooting a remarkable 12-under 60 to take the lead in the season-ending tournament.
Wallace’s incredible performance began with a 30-foot birdie putt on the 10th hole and continued until he birdied every hole thereafter. “That was fun,” Wallace said with a smile as he walked off the 18th green on the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Not only did Wallace secure the lead, but he also held the 54-hole lead, leaving top contenders Tommy Fleetwood, Viktor Hovland, and Nicolai Hojgaard unable to catch up.
Wallace’s precision on the course was evident as his final six birdie putts covered a total of 15 feet, 8 inches. Finishing at an impressive 16-under 200, he led by one shot over Fleetwood and Hovland, who each shot a 66.
“It was an amazing day. I just tried my hardest to get myself back into the tournament,” said Wallace, who started the day seven shots behind. “I’m really happy that I’ve been able to do that.”
Fleetwood and Hovland Remain in Contention
Tommy Fleetwood had a strong start with five birdies in the first seven holes. Although he slowed down in the middle, Fleetwood came to life with a remarkable 60-foot eagle putt on the par-5 14th. He was tied with Wallace after a birdie on the 16th but stumbled with a three-putt bogey on the par-3 17th and a missed birdie opportunity on the closing hole.
Viktor Hovland played a bogey-free round, but struggled to birdie the par 5s on the back nine due to poor tee shots. Nevertheless, the Norwegian star remains in a favorable position to capture the season-ending titles on both the PGA Tour and the European Tour.
“It would be really cool,” Hovland expressed. “It’s been a crazy year. It feels like it has been an offseason — six weeks off — but this is another big one. It would be nice to have on the resume.”
Other Contenders and Records
Masters champion Jon Rahm, a three-time winner of the DP World Tour Championship, showcased his skills with a remarkable fairway metal shot from the trees over the water onto the 18th green. His birdie and a score of 67 left him five shots behind and still in contention.
Rory McIlroy also shot a 67 but trailed by eight shots.
Wallace’s achievement of nine consecutive birdies matches the European Tour record set by James Nitties of Australia in the 2019 Vic Open and Raphaël Jacquelin’s 12 birdies in a round at the 2013 Turkish Open. However, it remains uncertain if Wallace’s record will be officially recognized due to the preferred lies rule implemented because of the rain-softened turf.
Despite narrowly missing the opportunity for a historic 59, Wallace’s exceptional performance throughout the day was evident. He consistently hit the ball with precision, with most of his birdie putts from within 3 feet or closer.
Meanwhile, Nicolai Hojgaard, who had been in control for much of the round, faltered towards the end. The 22-year-old Dane encountered trouble on the par-5 14th, hitting into the trees and needing to make a 7-foot par putt. He then found a bunker on the island-green 17th, resulting in a bogey, and closed with another bogey after hitting his approach into the creek on the 18th. Hojgaard finished with a 70, three shots behind Wallace.
His twin brother, Rasmus Hojgaard, shot a 65 and was two shots further behind. Rasmus is currently in a strong position to secure one of the ten spots on the PGA Tour for next year.