Stephen Gallacher’s gutsy surge back into Ryder Cup contention has been hailed as “great stuff” by the man he’s trying to pip for an automatic spot at Gleneagles.
Needing a top-two finish in the Italian Open to earn a place on Paul McGinley’s team, the Lothians star found himself 15 shots off the lead when he set out in the second round in Turin.
It followed South African Hennie Otto carding a superb 62 to surge to 15- under-par in the final qualifying event in the year-long race to make Europe’s side for the 40th Ryder Cup.
Boosted by an eagle at his opening hole, Gallacher quickly moved to three-under when he then birdied the fifth only for his momentum to be halted by an untimely double-bogey at the sixth.
It left the 39-year-old the wrong side of the cut for a spell and facing what would almost certainly have been a costly miss.
But his determination to play in golf’s biggest team event on Scottish soil saw him storm home in 30 for a seven-under-par 65. He leapt 57 places into a share of ninth – eight behind Otto but only five shots off second place with two rounds to go.
“Great stuff,” tweeted Graeme McDowell, who will slip out of the automatic positions should the Bathgate man achieve his target tomorrow night.
The performance was also praised by another of Gallacher’s playing friends through social media.
“What a back nine from Stevie Gallacher,” wrote Irishman Shane Lowry on Twitter. “Its birdie runs like that you need at the Ryder Cup.”