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Ulster caddie Dave McNeilly hailed for role in Matt Wallace's win

 

By Brian Keogh

Eagle-eyed Ulster caddie Dave McNeilly steered Matt Wallace to his third win in 13 months and into contention for a Ryder Cup debut.

The Englishman started the day just two shots off the lead in the BMW International Open but quickly found himself six adrift when Dane Thorbjorn Olesen fired an 11-under-par course record 61 at Golf Club Gut Laerchenhof to set the target at nine-under par.

Wallace (28) needed McNeilly's help to chase Olesen down and did just that, calling in the Carrickfergus-born caddie to line up his putts when the birdies dried up.

Just five-under par and still four behind Olesen after a two-under-par outward nine, he raced home in 31 for a 65 that left him on 10-under.

"On 10 and 11, I said to him (McNeilly), 'Listen, I need something, some more confidence, somewhere, so do you mind lining me up?'" explained Wallace, who felt the long-range birdie putts at the 10th and 11th were the keys to his win.

"After I did that, I hit some great shots, and I was like, 'Wow, we can get there now'.

"I didn't think I would have got there. I played the front nine really nice but missed loads of putts. After those two, I thought, 'Okay, this is on'."

It was then a waiting game for the clubhouse leader as home hero Martin Kaymer and Finland's Mikko Korhonen got within one shot of him but ended up tied for second with Olesen on nine-under.

While Wallace's third European Tour win moved him up to 12th in the European Ryder Cup points list, it was a 35th tour triumph for veteran bagman McNeilly (65), who has caddied for the likes of Nick Faldo, Nick Price, John Daly, Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke and Retief Goosen to name but a few.

"Obviously it gives me a lot of confidence to go on and play well and I want to kick on and hopefully do this in the bigger events from now on," added Wallace, who will move into the world's top 65 today.

"I think I said it in the last few interviews that I need to play my way into the Ryder Cup, and this is a good start."

Olesen also made a big Ryder Cup move, leapfrogging Rory McIlroy to move up to fifth in the European points list while Kaymer was pleased to show skipper Thomas Bjorn some form.

Meanwhile, on the Challenge Tour, Mount Juliet's touring professional Gavin Moynihan was breathing a sigh of relief after he finished tied sixth in the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge hosted by Macdonald Hotels and Resorts.

The Dubliner (23) had not made a cut for eight months, but he was thrilled to put a nightmare run behind him, closing with a four-under 67 to finish six shots behind winner David Law on five-under par.

Law became the first home winner of the event for eight years after closing with a four under par 67 to claim his maiden European Challenge Tour title by two strokes from Denmark's Joachim B Hansen on 11-under par. Michael Hoey (73) and Ruaidhri McGee (72) tied for 36th on one-over.

On the Symetra Tour, Cavan's Leona Maguire missed her first cut as a professional at the Island Resort Championship in Michigan on Saturday.

The former World Amateur No.1 followed a 76 with a 72 to miss out by five strokes on four-over par at Sweetgrass Golf Club having finished 15th and third in her two previous starts.

Jordanstown's Stephanie Meadow, who is fourth in the money list race for 10 LPGA Tour cards, closed with a two-over 74 to finish near the back of the field on one-under par.

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