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Gallacher shines in the rain

Alex Leach / 3 February 2013

Stephen Gallacher reigned supreme in the rain to surge three shots clear of the long-standing leader Richard Sterne at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic on Saturday with a record-breaking round.

The 38-year-old Scot fired a 10-under par 62 that, allied with Friday’s 70 (two under) and Thursday’s 63 (nine under), took him out to the best-ever, three-round score here of 195 (21 under).

It beat Tiger Woods’ 12-year benchmark (196: 20 under) by just a single stroke and he’s now only another good putt away from Thomas Bjorn’s 72-hole marker (266: 22 under), which was also set back in 2001.

“It’s the best round I’ve had. I was just trying to make as many birdies as I could,” said last year’s runner-up, whose 18 holes included six birdies and two eagles on the 13th and 18th respectively. “I’m not surprised. I’m driving the ball better than I have been the last couple of weeks and you have to play the balls from the fairways or it becomes tough.

“It’s not easy to win, but the goal is to try to be in contention more times and I’ve certainly got a good chance on Sunday.”

Familiarity has definitely helped Gallacher’s formidable form on the Majlis course over the last two years, with the 2004 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship winner a regular visitor to the emirate and Emirates Golf Club.

“I have some good memories around here,” he explained. “I like the place and look forward to it. I’ve played it a lot of times. I’ve come out on holiday here and I’m quite familiar with the course. I came here over Christmas and for a couple of days before the start of the season.

“I know my way around here and the lines. I know where to hit it and where not to. It’s obviously in great condition and it suits my eye as well.”

If Gallacher were to end his nine-year trophy drought as well, it would clearly mean a lot after a series of near misses in recent times.

“It would be great to know I can do it again,” he added. “I’ve certainly been playing better the last three or four years. I’ve had a lot of close shaves – a couple of seconds last year and another the year before.

“It’s just you come up against guys and sometimes it’s their day and you need a bit of luck. It’s tough to win but, if you’ve done it before, you can do it again.”



Third-round scores on Saturday

  • 195 - S Gallacher (SCO) 63-70-62
  • 198 - Richard Sterne (RSA) 62-70-66
  • 200 - T Olesen (DEN) 67-66-67
  • 202 - Felipe Aguilar (CHI) 68-68-66, Jeev Milkha Singh (IND) 68-67-67, Tommy Fleetwood (ENG) 65-68-69
  • 203 - Steve Webster (ENG) 69-69-65, Maximilian Kieffer (GER) 66-68-69
  • 204 - Lee Westwood (ENG) 67-71-66
  • 205 - R Rock (ENG) 70-68-67, J Walters (RSA) 68-70-67, N Seung-Yul (KOR) 66-72-67, G Maybin (NIR) 69-67-69, M Fraser (AUS) 67-69-69, Andy Sullivan (ENG) 69-67-69, Jbe Kruger (RSA) 70-66-69, Andreas Harto (DEN) 67-67-71, Chris Doak (SCO) 65-69-71
  • 206 - A Noren (SWE) 68-71-67, F Andersson-Hed (SWE) 67-71-68, R Jacquelin (FRA) 70-68-68, Ricardo Santos (POR) 66-71-69, S Garcia (ESP) 68-67-71, R Wattel (FRA) 68-67-71
  • 207 - G Mulroy (RSA) 71-70-66, RC-Bello (ESP) 69-69-69, Ignacio Garrido (ESP) 69-68-70, Matteo Manassero (ITA) 66-71-70, Scott Jamieson (SCO) 65-72-70, Peter Lawrie (IRE) 66-70-71
  • 208 - Anthony Wall (ENG) 68-72-68, Marcel Siem (GER) 68-72-68, Jamie Donaldson (WAL) 67-73-68, Lorenzo Gagli (ITA) 68-71-69, David Drysdale (SCO) 69-70-69, Todd Hamilton (USA) 70-68-70, Jose Maria Olazabal (ESP) 70-67-71
  • 209 - J Campillo (ESP) 69-71-69, Robert-Jan Derksen (NED) 68-72-69, Lee Slattery (ENG) 69-70-70, G Lockerbie (ENG) 68-70-71, G Bourdy (FRA) 67-71-71, H Stenson (SWE) 69-69-71, Gregory Havret (FRA) 70-67-72, Thongchai Jaidee (THA) 68-68-73, Paul Casey (ENG) 66-70-73
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