Top British finisher Wall is scaling new career heights
No one predicted that unheralded Anthony Wall would wind up as the highest finisher among all the British players. But after posting an 8-under 280 total, the 31-year-old Londoner believes his best years are still in front of him.
HOYLAKE, England (PA) -- Anthony Wall was entitled to bask in the satisfaction of finishing as the top British player at the Open Championship on Sunday. The son of a London taxi driver got his reward, not only for dedicated hours on the range but massive self-belief.
Wall, 31, saw his progress curtailed by a severe bout of glandular fever, but returned to good health and good form. His personal life also improved, and his wife Sharon and his two children take him back to what he calls the real world.
But after the final round of the Open, he could have been forgiven for being in a world of his own after closing with a 3-under 69 and a total of 8-under 280 to finish tied for 11th.
"It is sweet to have done so well after having three or four years of glandular fever, which was very nasty," he said. "The illness has not returned since 2002/03, although you always worry things like might come back.
"But it is all to do with adrenaline. I felt great out there. I played very solidly and my iron shots were good," he explained. "To walk up the 18th in front of all those people and to get a birdie [on the final hole] was even better."
Wall tried seven times without success to qualify for the Open. But he got a ticket to the 2006 tournament two months ago when he sunk a 35 foot birdie putt at the last at the Smurfit European Open to finish runner-up.
"I was not aware until I walked off the green [at the European Open] that I was in the Open," he said. "It only hit me then, which was probably a good thing."
Wall is edging closer to a spot on the European Ryder Cup team, though he accepts he may have to step onto the winner's rostrum in the next few weeks to achieve that goal.
"I always felt I was good enough to play at this level," he said. "Now I feel I have the technique to push me forward. My best years are yet to come."
Copyright 2006 PA Sport. All rights reserved.