Stevens, Eckroat nab top-five finishes in Corales Puntacana Championship

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Last week Matt Wallace made some headlines after a spat with his caddie. This week he’s back in the headlines once again, but as a PGA Tour winner.

The 32-year-old Englishman shot a 6-under 66 in Sunday’s final round to claim the 2023 Corales Puntacana Championship at 19 under for his first win on Tour in his 80th start. Wallace has won four times on the DP World Tour, most recently in 2018 at the Made in Denmark.

A week after Taylor Moore of Edmond won at Valspar, not one but two former players on the Oklahoma Junior Golf Tour and Oklahoma State University were in contention in the Dominican Republic. PGA Tour rookies Sam Stevens finished tied for third at 17-under while Austin Eckroat of Edmond was fifth alone at 16 under. It was the best finish for both players. Stevens now has three top-25 finishes in his first season while Eckroat has two and also snapped a streak of five consecutive missed cuts.

Eckroat is a two-time Class 6A state champion at Edmond North and the latest native Oklahoman to earn a PGA Tour card. Stevens frequently played in OJGT events while growing up in Texas and Kansas before joining the OSU program.

Nicolai Hojgaard needed a birdie on the 18th hole to force a playoff but came up short with par to finish solo second at 18 under. Tyler Duncan and Stevens tied for third. Stevens shot a 3-under 69 in the final round while Eckroat fired a 68. Stevens jumped from 137 to 104 in the FedEx Cup Standings while Eckroat moved up from 162 to 124.

“Self talk was very good today, been working really hard since the Players on it,” said Wallace, who has made light of his history as an Angry Golfer. “I realized at the Players out of the 145 shots I hit to miss the cut by one, two of those I spoke to myself well. Two shots for the whole week, so that’s not good enough. That’s not going to get the job done.”

You know what does get the job done? Four rounds under par – 67-66-70-66 – as well as four birdies over his last six holes on Sunday.

“Very happy down those last few holes,” said Wallace. “I knew I could do it and I played great all week, just came out on top.”


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Ken MacLeod

Publisher Golf Oklahoma | Oklahoma's No. 1 Golf Source