Golf: Stephen Gallacher draws Ernie Els in Arizona

Stephen Gallacher is in great form, having recently won the Dubai Desert Classic. Pic: Getty
Stephen Gallacher is in great form, having recently won the Dubai Desert Classic. Pic: Getty
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Stephen Gallacher will face two-time Open champion Ernie Els in the first round of the WGC Match-Play in Arizona on Wednesday

And the Lothians star could have another major winner, US Open title holder Justin Rose, lying in wait in the second round if he can overcome his opening hurdle.

The four brackets for the event at Dove Mountain were decided overnight following the publication of the latest world rankings.

Gallacher, the double Dubai Desert Classic champion, has remained in 37th position for the third week running. It should have meant he’d be facing a first-round tie in Arizona against Seve Trophy team-mate Jamie Donaldson, but the pairings have been shuffled due to world No.1 Tiger Woods, second-ranked Adam Scott and No.4 Phil Mickelson all skipping the event.

Instead, Gallacher will be up against Els after the South African moved up a spot to 34th.

It’s the second year running that Gallacher has landed a tough opening task in the event.

Twelve months ago, he found himself up against former winner and Ryder Cup talisman Ian Poulter. Gallacher was three down with six to play to the Englishman, but battled bravely before losing 2 and 1.

His clash with Els will be the last of Wednesday’s 32 first-round matches, the pair not due to tee off until 12.35pm local time.

The winner will take on either Rose, the world No.5 and top seed in the Gary Player bracket, or American Scott Piercy.

It was Piercy who outgunned Paul Lawrie in the opening round last year, so he’s unlikely to prove a pushover for Rose.

Also in Gallacher’s bracket is USPGA champion Jason Dufner as well as former world No.1s Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer.

Two-times major winner Rory McIlroy faces American Boo Weekley in his opening match in the Ben Hogan bracket.