Stephen Gallacher has been conserving energy for this week’s physically demanding test in the British Masters after ending up on a drip last Thursday.
It followed the Lothians star suffering a bad bout of sinusitis during the Portugal Masters, forcing him to withdraw from the event in Villamoura before the second round.
“Last week floored me,” Gallacher told the Evening News. “I’m about 80 per cent at at the moment. That’s why I just played the pro-am, especially on what it is a physically demanding course.”
That was a reference to Close House, which sits between Newcastle and Hexham, being a lot more hilly than the majority of the courses on the European Tour.
“There’s only three or four hills but they are steep ones. It’s a bit like Crans sur Sierre (in Switzerland) with the big elevations and it’s going to be a bit of a battle,” added the Bathgate man.
“Having started to feel a bit tired towards the end in today’s pro-am, I’m going back to the hotel now to chill.”
Edinburgh-based Lee Westwood is this week’s host, taking on the role Ian Poulter filled two years ago at Woburn when the event was restored to the schedule before Luke Donald was the face of last year’s tournament at The Grove.
“It’s an enjoyable course to play and it’s in brilliant nick,” observed Gallacher.
“With great crowds expected, it is going to be a brilliant week in a part of the country where they they love their sport.”
Gallacher’s three pro-am partners are all people better known for singing on stages than swinging drivers on a golf course. Brian McFadden of Westlife fame was one, Boyzone’s Keith Duffy another and the other was swing music singer Cole Page.
“Today was different – that’s for sure,” said Gallacher, smiling. They are all great lads – and they know how to enjoy themselves.
“They have all been in bands and are good singers. It was light-hearted and we had a great laugh out there.”
Gallacher heads into the event sitting 86th in the Race to Dubai and has just one target in his sights over the next few weeks.
“My goal is to try and cement place in the Tour Championship in Dubai in November,” he declared of an event that features the top 60 on the money-list.
“One good week and you are into everything at the end of the season.”