Stephen Gallacher’s pre-event concern about his driving was vindicated as the Lothians star had an up-and-down opening day in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
The two-time winner on the Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club signed for five birdies and four bogeys in carding a one-under 71 on a day when more than 100 players broke par.
Gallacher picked up three birdies on the spin around the turn and was still three-under with two holes to play before finishing bogey-bogey. Sitting joint-90th, the Bathgate man needed a good second round to avoid a rare missed cut in his favourite event on the European Tour.
Capital-based Richie Ramsay recovered from being two-over after just three holes to sign for a 70, leaving him in joint-69th on a day when Welshman Jamie Donaldson set the pace with a blistering 62.
“My chipping was poor, which killed momentum,” said Ramsay afterwards. “But I got more belief from the my new get go play aggressive attitude and game is there for big week.”
Paul Lawrie made a promising start in the $3 million event – after only getting into the star-studded field an hour before teeing off.
Making the most of his late opportunity, the Aberdonian opened with a four-under 68.