Stephen Gallacher misses cut at the Masters

Stephen Gallacher dropped four shots in five holes around the turn to wreck his hopes

Stephen Gallacher dropped four shots in five holes around the turn to wreck his hopes

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Stephen Gallacher bemoaned “terrible driving” as he agonisingly missed the cut in his second Masters.

The Lothians star fell one stroke short after a second-round 76 left him on three-over-par after 36 holes at Augusta National.

“I drove it terrible all day so it was a great 76,” said Gallacher as American ace Jordan Spieth maintained his blistering form to open up a five-shot lead at the halfway stage.

“If you are in position this course plays straight forward but if you’re in the rough or the pine needles then it is horrendous.”

One-under heading out, Gallacher dropped four shots in five holes around the turn before covering the last five in one-under.

“I fought hard, including a birdie from the trees at 14, and a good par putt at the last,” he said. “The course played much the same as yesterday but it’s the wind that causes the hassle round here where it picks up.”

His next event is an invitation into the Zurich Classic in New Orleans later this month before heading to San Francisco for the WGC – Cadillac Match-Play Championship.

Spieth followed his opening 64 with a 66 to open up a healthy lead over fellow American Charley Hoffman (67, 68).

The 21-year-old leader’s 14-under-par halfway total is a new record for the season’s opening major, beating the one set by Ray Floyd in 1976 by one.

“Any time you can set a record here is pretty awesome,” admitted Spieth, who has finished first-second-second in his last three events. He signed for six birdies in a bogey-free second round, having dropped just one shot on the opening circuit.

“To have one bogey through 36 holes on this track means that I’m putting well and putting from short distances well,” added last year’s joint runner-up.

“The hardest thing to do is put aside wanting to win so badly. I got off to a great start and had a chance to win last year on Sunday. I’d like to have that same opportunity this year.”

Among those watching Gallacher again was Ken Lewandowski, the former Hibs chairman who is a close family friend and loves his golf.

“I’ve watched Stephen work so hard to achieve the success he has and to see him at the Masters again demonstrates that he is one of the world’s top golfers and he deserves to be here,” Lewandowski told the Edinburgh Evening News.

“He is a fantastic ambassador for Scottish golf and conducts himself in a thoroughly professional manner at all times. His commitment, and that of his wife Helen and his Foundation team to build a legacy for golf is unquestionable. He is dedicated to putting something back into the game of golf.”

Lewandowski, right, who was the chairman at Easter Road for two years, has been proud to see Gallacher win three European Tour titles as well as making last year’s Ryder Cup on Scottish soil at Gleneagles. But he insisted: “I think that Stephen can still become a better golfer and I don’t think that a major is beyond his ability. He has shown that he can live with the best and on their day these golfers are capable of great things, and I believe that Stephen is one of the best.”

Augusta National is certainly one of the best when it comes to venues in golf, as is Loch Lomond, where Lewandowski was the club captain at one time. “This is my sixth Masters and everyone is special,” he admitted. “Augusta has a unique and unrivalled place in world golf and it is difficult to compare it with Loch Lomond Golf Club - both are top golf courses in their own right.” Football remains another of Lewandowski’s passions and he believes definite progress is being made at Hibs following last year’s relegation from the SPL. I still watch Hibs and I think they have improved since the arrival of Alan Stubbs,” he said. “He seems to have given them more belief than they had. I only wish they could show more consistency and play to their ability more regularly. We need that if we are to go up this season.”