Oliver Wilson Back on Road to European Tour after Victory in Ireland
Four years ago, Oliver Wilson produced one of the unlikeliest professional victories in recent memory by securing the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews when ranked 792nd in the world. That was his maiden European Tour victory, coming two seasons after losing his card in the midst of horrendous struggles. It was a remarkable story, inspiring, but it wasn't the moment that ushered in a positive chapter as the Englishman fell off the circuit once again at the end of 2016.
However, there had been notably encouraging signs of late. The 38-year-old wasn't present at the Home of Golf for last week's celebration of links golf in Scotland, but instead entered the Monaghan Irish Challenge on the second-tier Challenge Tour. Having won the Swedish Challenge in August, the former Ryder Cup player knew that a strong performance was required at Concra Wood Golf Club to elevate himself into the reckoning to claim a return back onto the main tour.
Well, courtesy of a 12-under 276 total after rounds of 69, 70, 68 and 69, he won in Ireland.
“It was hard work today and a proper grind,” Wilson reflected on his two-stroke triumph. “I was delighted to come through it. I could’ve made it easier for myself but instead made it a little tricky when I was coming down the stretch.
“I had to keep hitting good shots and I managed to do that, and it wasn’t too stressful coming up the last.”
BOOM ???? Win number 2 of the year, progress continuing. ???? Absolutely loved this weeks venue @concrawood for the Irish Challenge. Thanks to everyone who came out to watch. Great work @maxbill91 on the bag ???? pic.twitter.com/l7AlcNppFp— Oliver Wilson (@Oliver_Wilson) October 7, 2018
Now sitting at 15th on the Road to Oman points list - the top 15 win tour cards for next season on the European Tour - Wilson has a platform to continue another extraordinary career resurrection. Few have more accurately enscapsulated the highs and lows of professional golf.
Last year, after failing to make it through Q-School, the former Augusta State and Walker Cup golfer revealed to Bunkered that he had considered quitting the tour sphere entirely, before pining his focus on getting back to the top. Such was the torment of attempting to compete when his game was so resolutely uncooperative. His was an ability that saw him part of Nick Faldo's European team at Valhalla in 2008, before that once enviable consistency deserted him. He returned to the event at Le Golf National as an on-course reporter for BBC Five Live.
Speaking to Golfweek, he said: “I can’t really describe how bad it was other than to say it was embarrassing. My driving was horrific. I was hitting four fairways a round. Half of my missed fairways the ball was out of play.”
In July, he was ranked outside the top 2000 on the Official World Golf Ranking. Today, he is 272nd.
And he is firmly back on that path to the European Tour.
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