Caddie raves at Stephen Gallacher’s form in Dubai

Stephen Gallacher seems to love playing golf at the Majils Course

Stephen Gallacher seems to love playing golf at the Majils Course

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Even Stephen Gallacher’s caddie is starting to be amazed by the Lothians star’s dazzling desert displays.

“Wow,” declared Damian Moore as he reflected on Gallacher burning up the Majlis Course at the Emirates yet again in the first round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

Bidding to win the event for the third year running, the 40-year-old made his presence felt straight away with a six-under-par 66 to sit close to the lead.

It was illuminated by an eagle – his fifth at the same hole in 13 rounds – at the par-5 13th, where he holed a bunker shot from around 20 feet.

And, though it’s normally been the back nine that he’s played best, the Ryder Cup player mastered the front nine this time by covering it in 31.

In the same 13 rounds, Gallacher is now an accumulative 61-under-par and experienced caddie Moore, who lives in Mid Calder, can’t recall any other player shooting the lights out so spectacularly on the same course.

“I don’t think I’ve ever come across a player who looks as comfortable on a certain golf course as Stevie does here,” he said.

“You used to see players doing well quite consistently at Wentworth, but that was more down to the fact they putted and chipped well.

“Stevie’s scoring here has been phenomenal with bags and bags of birdies and a good few eagles, too. I’ve not seen anything like it.

“It doesn’t mean we are going on to win it again, but the other players will be wary to see him up there once more and it hopefully gives us a chance.”

Moore, who is in his fifth season on Gallacher’s bag, added: “Even I thought we might have to settle for one-under today after he had a bit of a wobble at the 18th and the first (after starting at the tenth).

“But there’s just something special that happens to him out there. It’s almost mystical, to be honest. It’s been the back nine where he’s done most of his good work in recent years but today it was great that he cracked the front nine, playing the last few holes, ones that are really tough, in three-under.

“It was power-hitting over that stretch. He just bullied the holes.

“We had a wedge into eight – one of the toughest holes on the course – and we’ve not done that before.”

Whether or not he leaves here on Sunday with the iconic trophy again, Moore believes four-times major winner Ernie Els was right when he described Gallacher this week as a “top echelon” player these days.

“I think he feels comfortable now,” said the likeable caddie. “He’s so pally with all the top players and is also really starting to believe in himself now.

“We obviously still have to work on a few things, but he’s definitely more consistent now, hitting a lot more fairways and greens.

“Being in the big groups the first two days in some events (McIlroy and Tiger Woods here 12 months ago) has been brilliant for him, and he’s starting to see he belongs with the top boys.”

• Turkish Airlines fly daily from Edinburgh to Dubai via Istanbul with your golf equipment flying for free.