Stephen Gallacher takes route 66 to South Africa

Stephen Gallacher  plays his shot off the 11th tee
Stephen Gallacher plays his shot off the 11th tee
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Stephen Gallacher’s Dubai dream is still alive after the Lothians star finished strongly in the $7 million Turkish Airlines Open in Belek.

A closing five-under-par 66, which was his best effort of the week, for a six-under 278 total lifted the 44-year-old into a tie for 35th behind back-to-back winner Justin Rose at Regnum Carya. That finish cemented Gallacher’s place alongside the likes of Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia in this week’s Nedbank Challenge in South Africa.

And he now aims to get the big result he needs in an event being hosted by Gary Player at Sun City to seal a spot in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai next week.

Gallacher sits 76th in the Race to Dubai and needs to force his way into the top 60 to join Russell Knox in flying the Saltire at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

“I had to come here to have a good one to get into the Nedbank and now I’m one good week away from getting into Dubai as well,” said the three-time European Tour winner.

“That’s the goal and I will be going to Sun City with a bit of a spring in my step after a five-under par round today.

“I just played great, to be honest, and missed a few chances. I’ve played Sun City four or five times and I like the course there. If I play like that I will be okay.”

Gallacher revealed that his son, Jack, is staying on his bag for next season after being impressed how the 18-year-old has handled a job he took up earlier in the year.

“Jack is getting better and better as he gets more experienced and visits new countries,” he said. “A few of the guys have been saying he’s doing well so he is going to caddie all of next year as well.

“Jack is only 18 so he is still learning but he’s doing a great job and I am loving it with him.”

Joining Gallacher on the European Tour for the 2019 campaign is Grant Forrest after he finished seventh on the Challenge Tour money-list.

The Lothians star graduated from the second-tier circuit along with three other Scots – Liam Johnston, Bob MacIntyre and David Law. “Hopefully now we can move up and make an impact,” said Forrest, who has earned the step up at 25.