Stephen Gallacher is enjoying his golf for the first time this year as he heads into the second European Tour Final Series event in South Africa this week.
The Lothians star put a frustrating season behind him as he finished in the top 20 in the Turkish Airlines Open, won by Ryder Cup team-mate Justin Rose, in Belek. Even more important than claiming a share of 16th, though, was the way Gallacher performed in his first outing with a new weakened right-hand grip.
The 43-year-old shot rounds of 69-65-69-71 for a 10-under-par total at the Regnum Carya course, comfortably securing his spot in the Nedbank Challenge in Sun City in the process.
“Today was a day when I hit one poor shot and didn’t putt well yet still shot level,” said Gallacher of his closing effort. “Before, when that was happening, I’d maybe shoot 79. So I’m delighted to shoot 71 in that situation.
“I’m enjoying it as well. It’s the first time I’ve enjoyed four rounds for a while, apart from the Dunhill Links. I’ve not really been enjoying it all year, to be honest. You can get away with it [playing how he had been before this event] on a links and on courses that are really soft, but when it’s bouncy and tight it is tough.”
Edinburgh-based Richie Ramsay finished four shots behind Gallacher in joint-27th after a closing 71. “I played pretty good – just had one bad hole,” he said. “I hit a low, left sniper with my driver out of nowhere at the ninth. It was a mental error and I was pretty effed off with it.
“I just need to believe in myself a bit more.”