Matt Wallace
Matt Wallace Image Credit: Supplied

Matt Wallace hopes that a strong performance at a former Ryder Cup venue at this week’s Wales open can kick-start his bid for a place on Padraig Harrington’s team at the end of September.

The four-time European Tour winner is teeing it up at Celtic Manor for the first time this week as the Wales Open returns to The Twenty Ten Course, which hosted The Ryder Cup 11 years ago.

Joining Wallace in the field in Wales is Germany’s Matthias Schmid. The 23-year-old turned professional on Monday after winning the Silver Medal at The Open for finishing as the low amateur at Royal St George’s.

A back-to-back winner of the European Amateur Championship in 2019 and 2020, Schmid equalled the lowest score by an amateur at The Open with his second round of 65.

Englishman Sam Horsfield returns to a happy hunting ground after his victory at Celtic Manor in 2020. The two-time European Tour winner was victorious at the Celtic Classic, the first of two consecutive events held at this venue as part of the UK Swing, which relaunched the European Tour’s season following a three-month pause due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We’re here to win. We’re here to play some good golf, like I have been doing and put ourselves in contention and hopefully get across the line,” said Wallace. “I’ve never played this course before. It’s iconic and I’m looking forward to it. The weather is supposed to be great, the greens are good, I’m looking forward to getting out there and seeing what we can do.

“It’s been really difficult this year to find the balance of what I want to do. I want to make the Ryder Cup. It’s what to think about — do I want to think about making the team or think about performing well so that will get me in the team? I need to be selfish in that sense. But I want (captain) Padraig Harrington to know that I’m working to get into that team because that’s what I want to achieve. This is why I’m here this week. I need to start putting some results on the table so Padraig can see I’m playing well and fingers crossed this is the start of what’s to come in the next few months.”

Schmid added: “I got the Silver Medal last week. I played well, even on the weekend I could have done better — I thought I left a lot of shots out there. But I’m excited to be here and get the professional career going.

“I have a little bit of experience, I’ve played in a few tournaments and everyone has helped a little bit. I got a little more comfortable as the week went on. I have won the European Championships twice, and now I’m Silver Medallist. So pretty solid I think.”