Gallacher’s eagle in Turkey puts him in position to strike

tephen Gallacher was five-under par after his first round
tephen Gallacher was five-under par after his first round
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Stephen Gallacher was aiming to “push on” in today’s second round of the £4.4million Turkish Airlines Open.

It followed the Lothians star getting off to a promising start with his five-under-par 67 at Montgomerie Maxx Royal in Belek.

That left him alongside fellow Scot Marc Warren, the pair trailing leader Miguel Angel Jimenez by four shots after the opening circuit.

“I only missed one fairway all day and two greens, so overall it was pretty good golf,” said Gallacher of his effort, watched by his parents, Jim and Wilma.

“It could have been a lot better because there was a lot of good putts that broke just at the hole,” he added.

Starting at the tenth in the company of Ryder Cup team-mate Lee Westwood and World Match play champion Mikko Ilonen, Gallacher bagged three birdies to be out in 34.

He then started for home with an eagle-3 at his tenth (first), got to six-under with another birdie before dropping his only shot of the day at the par-3 fifth.

“I hit my drive 330 yards at the tenth then followed it with a rescue club from 240 yards to a foot,” said the 40-year-old of the highlight of his round.

“I drove it great today and birdied three of the other par-5s, so it was good day.”

While a 63 from Jimenez suggested otherwise, the Colin Montgomerie-designed course is no pushover, especially with the rough up following some heavy rain in the last few weeks.

“The last three events have been on proper golf courses with thick, thick rough and quite narrow fairways with the greens quite tricky,” said Gallacher.

“The only other thing today was that the weather was absolutely perfect and the greens had enough bite in them that you could hold the ball, so I am looking forward to pushing on now.”

Warren, whose wife, Laura, is an Edinburgh girl, had mixed feelings about his start. On the one hand, he’d have taken it heading out but probably not after finishing bogey-bogey.

“I played well to get to -7 after 16 holes, having holed some good putts,” said the three-times European Tour winner.

“But, while the finish to the front nine is quite tough, it was a bit disappointing to close with two bogeys after two poor chip shots.”

Livingston-based Chris Doak recovered from being one-over early on to post a 69.

But Richie Ramsay, who lives in Morningside, slumped to a 76, the same as course designer Colin Montgomerie.