Golf: Gough gives Drysdale a boost for Gleneagles

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DAVID DRYSDALE is hoping the brother of former Scotland star Richard Gough can help him enjoy some home comfort in this week’s Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

The 36-year-old started working with Jamie Gough earlier this year and is beginning to reap some reward from the swing changes made by the South African coach.

He finished fifth in the Czech Open on Sunday and is now feeling confident about his game heading into tomorrow’s opening round over the PGA Centenary Course.

“I’m starting to play a bit better,” said Drysdale, whose performance in last week’s event was the best since he finished eighth in Johannesburg in the opening tournament of the year.

“I’ve been working hard with Jamie Gough for the last three-and-a-half months and, though the changes we’ve made have been subtle, they have also been difficult to do.

“I was struggling to start with. It was good on the range for six weeks, but I just wasn’t able to take it out on to the golf course.

“It’s improving now and it’s nice to see things turn around as I probably still have another eight or ten (tournaments) to go between now and the end of the season.”

The £43,000 Drysdale earned in the Czech Republic has lifted him into 97th spot on the European Tour money list. He’s now well on course to retain his card for next year, though the Cockburnspath man insisted that hasn’t been a concern for him.

“I wasn’t really feeling the pressure as there are still so many tournaments to go and with my ranking I should be able to get into all of them,” he added.

Having missed the Johnnie Walker event 12 months ago due to an injury, Drysdale is looking forward to playing again on the course that will host the 2014 Ryder Cup. “The course is in great shape,” he noted. “It’s as firm as I’ve seen it and the greens are really good.”

The seventh hole is getting its first big test this week since it was re-modelled on the advice of Jack Nicklaus, the original course designer.

But, along with everyone else, Drysdale is waiting with interest to see what changes, if any, lie in store for the 18th hole.

“It’s not a fantastic finishing hole,” he observed. “I’d heard rumours they were going to make space for a fairway up the right. For me, at the moment, it is right on the limit to get up in two – I can only just reach it.

“All in all, though, I think this will be a good match-play course for the Ryder Cup.

“It is certainly going to play long if it’s in October and it will be a great test for these boys in three years’ time.”

Leading Lothians hope Stephen Gallacher has the Saltman brothers, Lloyd and Elliot, joining him in this week’s field.

Also in the line-up are former Mortonhall man David Patrick, Braid Hills pro Paul McKechnie and West Linton-based Gareth Wright.

They have all earned spots through performances on the PGA Scottish Region last year.