Gallacher, McIlroy start well

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Gallacher, McIlroy start well

The 40-year-old Scot birded his opening hole — the par-five 10th — and then eagled the 13th before undoing some of his previous good work with a bogey at the 16th.

By Alex Leach (Senior Reporter)

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Published: Fri 30 Jan 2015, 12:30 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:50 PM

Rory McIlroy plays a shot during the first round. — KT photo by Shihab

Dubai — Stephen Gallacher made a sturdy start to the defence of his Omega Dubai Desert Classic title as a six-under par 66 left him two shots off the overnight lead.

The 40-year-old Scot birded his opening hole — the par-five 10th — and then eagled the 13th before undoing some of his previous good work with a bogey at the 16th.

Nonetheless, that was to prove the only blip on an otherwise unblemished card as he registered four birdies across the front nine, including two in succession over eight and nine to finish off with a flourish. “It was a nice way to start. You cannot win it on the first day, but you can lose it, so it’s nice to keep in touch,” said Gallacher.

“I’m delighted with the way I finished, with three threes, which was nice. I hit lovely putts all day and it just so happened that they went in on the last two holes. I’ve posted a score to start off with and I’m in contention, so — hopefully — that’s something to build on.” Gallacher had been toying with the idea of putting a new driver in the bag for this tournament, but he elected to use his old one after some shortcomings in his technique resurfaced.

“I used my old one purely because I was struggling a bit with my swing,” he added. “I’ve crept into my old habits and I didn’t want to do that and take something new out, but it will be in the bag next week. It was just a case of consolidation for me. I had to flip my decision-making and thinking today.”

Gallacher is tied for sixth place alongside fellow Ryder Cup star and world number one Rory McIlroy, who shared sentiments to his team-mate at Gleneagles afterwards. “I cannot complain with 66,” said the Northern Irishman, who carded seven birdies before bogeying the par-four ninth.

“You’re not going to get the course any easier out there today and it was a decent way to start. I shot 66 in Dubai at the end of last year (at the Dubai World Tour Championship). I shot a 67 last time out in Abu Dhabi and then 66 here. I keep getting off to good starts, which is nice, and it gets you right in the mix straightaway. Hopefully, I can build on that this week.”

 

 



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