Stephen Gallacher opens with best score of year in Irish Open

Stephen Gallacher hit six birdies
Stephen Gallacher hit six birdies
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Lothians star Stephen Gallacher carded his best score of the year as the ‘Tartan Army’ enjoyed a successful day in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Portstewart.

Gallacher signed for a five-under-par 67 after recovering from a bogey at the opening hole to make six birdies, including four in five holes to end his front nine.

The effort, which was best since signing for the same score in the third round of the Hong Kong Open in December, left the Kingsfield-attached player sitting handily-placed in joint-ninth alongside Duncan Stewart. His matching effort contained eight birdies, boosting the Capital-based player’s hopes of hanging on to the European Tour card he secured at the end of last season.

Cockburnspath’s David Drysdale fared even better than both Gallacher and Stewart with his 66 to sit joint-sixth, two shots behind American Daniel Im and France’s Benjamin Hebert.

Richie Ramsay, who also lives in Edinburgh, added to a promising start by the Scots as he signed for a 68.

Elsewhere, Craigielaw’s Scott Gillies shared top spot in a qualifer for next month’s Deer Park Masters. In an 18-hole shoot-out at the Livingston venue, Gillies carded a three-under 69 along with Jason McCreadie (Largs) and Michael Patterson (Kilmacolm).

Duddingston’s Ross Munro was also among 29 qualifiers.