STEPHEN GALLACHER got the confidence boost he was looking for in the Dunhill Links last weekend – but it came at a price.
“I picked up a virus and I just can’t shift it,” revealed the Lothians star on the eve of the £3-million British Masters supported by Sky Sports at Woburn. As a precaution, Gallacher, pictured, only played eight holes in yesterday’s pro-am on the Marquess’ Course at the Bedfordshire venue. “I just feel shattered and lethargic,” he added. “But I’m taking antibiotics and I should be okay for the first round tomorrow.”
His caddie, Damian Moore, has also been hit, but he, too, was hopeful of reporting for duty as the Ryder Cup player launched his title bid in the company of Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Alexander Levy from France.
Gallacher finished joint-19th behind Dane Thorbjorn Olesen at St Andrews – his best performance since he was third in defending the Dubai Desert Classic title in February.
“Last week was a boost for me,” he admitted, having suffered a string of disappointing results over the spring and summer.
“It was nice to get back into contention as that’s where you want to be on a Sunday.”
He’s also playing in next week’s Portugal Masters but has left the Hong Kong Open, the final regular event of the season before the lucrative “Final Series”, off his schedule.
“I just want to have a strong finish to the season,” he said.
“I want to try and get back into the top 50 in the world and I’ve got five events to do it.
“I might not get into the HSBC Champions unless I have a good one in Turkey. It’s the top thirty for the HSBC, so that’s another goal over the coming weeks.”
Won by Gallacher’s uncle Bernard at Ganton in 1975 when it was sponsored by Dunlop, the British Masters is making its return to the European Tour schedule for the first time since 2008.
It was last staged at Woburn in 2002, when Justin Rose followed in the spikemarks of a host of major winners, including Sandy Lyle, by claiming the title at that venue.
The winner this weekend will walk away with £500,000.