US Open 2017: Matt Wallace says rapid rise to Erin Hills is 'crazy'

Golfer Matt Wallace
Matt Wallace was ranked world number 242 when he won the 2017 Portugal Open in May
US Open
Dates: 15-18 June Venue: Erin Hills
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra. Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and sport app.

England's Matt Wallace has described his rapid rise from clothes-shop worker to competing at the US Open at Erin Hills as "crazy".

Wallace, 27, has jumped 1,500 places in the world rankings in the past 20 months and takes part in his first major on Thursday - five years after turning professional.

"I've always wanted to play in a major and to do it in this style... it's been a rapid rise," Wallace told BBC Sport.

"I'm really looking forward to it. US Open... it's crazy."

From shop worker to US Open

Before turning professional in 2012, Wallace worked in a clothes shop and did not play golf seriously until he was 18.

"From 18, my head was on the wrong way, I worked for Hollister and was out partying all the time," he told the Guardian.

"I changed that when I was 20 when I had this thought of: 'What am I going to do when I'm 30? I have nothing'."

Wallace, who lives with his parents in Middlesex, has certainly made up for lost time.

He has won seven titles in the past 15 months - six on the Alps circuit, one of the feeders for the European Tour.

In addition, he led from start to finish to win the Portugal Open - his first European Tour title - last month when ranked 242 in the world. He starts in Wisconsin having moved up to 141st.

"I'm still at home with mum and dad, but I'm never there as I'm always travelling," he told the Daily Telegraph.

"When I get a break I'll look at getting my own place, but for now I'm just loving the ride and they have been so important to me.

"Dad played rugby for Wasps in the seventies and they are both PE teachers and are very sporty and know what I'm striving for.

"They are coming to Erin Hills with me and my girlfriend, Chelsie, and it'll be wonderful to be there with them, to highlight how far I've come."

'Stay as calm as possible'

Matt Wallace
Wallace practiced on the course this week with compatriots Lee Westwood and Danny Willett

Wallace has received plenty of advice as he prepares to tackle Erin Hills alongside the world's best.

At nearly 8,000 yards, the 11-year-old links-style layout will be the longest course in the championship's history.

"As a golfer you have to adapt to your surroundings and conditions," he added. "It's going to be long, it's going to be tricky in areas.

"I've had some great advice from players who have played in the US Open and they said you have to try and stay as calm as possible and grind it out as well as you can."

On how far he has come in a short space of time, Wallace said: "It's come fast but at the end of the day it's just golf.

"I try and dumb it down as much as possible and head out there and try and do my thing."

US Open winners since 2010 - *denotes UK winner
2016: Dustin Johnson (Oakmont)
2015: Jordan Spieth (Chambers Bay)
2014: Martin Kaymer (Pinehurst)
2013: Justin Rose (Merion)*
2012: Webb Simpson (Olympic Club)
2011: Rory McIlroy (Congressional)*
2010: Graeme McDowell (Pebble Beach)*

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