Golf: Gallacher’s eyes now on Dubai slot

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STEPHEN GALLACHER is confident he can climb back into the top 60 on the European Tour money-list and earn a place in the season-ending Dubai World Championship.

The Lothians star was pleased to secure joint-fourth for Scotland along with Martin Laird in the Omega World Cup at Mission Hilla in China.

But, in missing out on the SA Open at Serengeti as a result of playing in China, he has slipped to 61st in the Race to Dubai ahead of this week’s Hong Kong Open – the final counting event.

“I need a good week in Hong Kong to end the season on a high and Dubai would represent the icing on the cake,” said Gallacher. “Golf is a confidence-based game and I am going there on a bit of a high knowing that I played well in China.”

Gallacher has around £15,000 to make up on Irishman Peter Lawrie, the man now lying in 60th spot. That follows South African Hennie Otto catapulting himself into the top 60 after he won at Serengeti.

One behind at the halfway stage at Mission Hills, Gallacher and Laird closed with rounds of 69 and 66 to finish with a 21-under-total of 267, three behind winners USA.

“We didn’t manage to live the dream as World Cup winners, but I think Martin and I are entitled to feel proud of our achievement in finishing fourth,” insisted Gallacher.

“It’s just a pity that we didn’t manage to give ourselves more of a chance going into the last round. Our 69 in Saturday’s fourballs meant we were always going to be up against it.

“But a 66 in the closing foursomes represented a very good finish. We played very solidly and holed a few crucial putts.”

Gallacher added: “Martin and I didn’t know that much about each other prior to this week, but we gelled perfectly because we have similar type games and I hope we get the chance to do this again sometime.”

Archerfield’s Lloyd Saltman, however, won’t be joining Gallacher in Hong Kong after a painful last hole in the SA Open.

Fighting to hang on to his European Tour card, he came to the 72nd hole needing a par to finish joint-third.

A top-five finish would have secured a spot in this week’s event, but he ran up a double-bogey 6 to finish in joint-ninth.

It has left Saltman lying in 133rd position on the money-list, which means he now has to return to the Qualifying School in Spain to win back his place at the top table in European golf.

His older brother, Elliot, will also be among the hopefuls in the battle for cards after he finished 201st in his rookie year on the top circuit.