Gallacher breaks five-year duck

BIG WIN Stephen Gallacher of Scotland with the Indian Open trophy on Sunday. AFP

Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher shot three birdies in closing four holes to grab his first European Tour title in five years at the $1.75 million Hero Indian Open at the DLF Golf and Country Club on Sunday.

The 44-year-old finished with a winning total of nine-under-par 279 which handed him a one-stroke victory over Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura who squandered an opportunity to force a play-off. Spaniard Jorge Campillo was two-strokes behind at the third place.

Entering the final round three strokes behind the overnight leaders, Gallacher kept his cool to recover from quadruple-bogey on seventh hole to finish with final round 71.

“When you’re 44 you’re in the sort of twilight so it’s a big win for me. It was good to finish it out the way I did it, three under for the last four is a great way to finish,” Gallacher said.

“I was pretty calm after that hole (the seventh), there’s nothing much you can do. To see that I was only five back gave me a wee bit of encouragement.”

American Julian Suri, who had ruled the leaderboard on all three days, was ahead by three strokes after 12 holes but produced a quadruple bogey of on the 14th to slip back, and he finished alongside South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout at tied fourth.

Best Indians

Bengaluru’s S Chikkarangappa and Rashid Khan of Delhi finished as the best-placed home players.

Chikkarangappa started the day in joint sixth place. He began on the right note with a birdie on his very first hole, but could not build on that. A double-bogey on fifth hole and another double and a bogey on the back nine ended his challenge.

Among other Indians, Shubhankar Sharma’s woes with the eighth hole continued as he put two balls into the water, after going into the lake once each on previous two days. He shot 75 and ended even par 288 at tied 27th.

“That hole (eighth) really had me this week,” said Sharma, who dropped four shots at the eighth. “Things just did not go well this week, despite a fine start on Thursday. Still I would say the game is trending in right direction and hopefully it was turn around for the good.”

Gaganjeet Bhullar (71) rose to tied 39th place, and two-time Hero Indian Open winner SSP Chawrasia (75) was tied 45th and Ajeetesh Sandhu (75) was T-54th.

Leading scores after 72 holes: 279: Stephen Gallacher (67, 74, 67, 71, Sco), 280: Masahiro Kawamura (69, 70, 68, 73, Jap), 281: Jorge Campillo (70, 73, 71, 67, Esp), 282: Chistiaan Bezuidenhout (68, 76, 70, 68, RSA), Julian Suri (67, 67, 71, 77, USA), 283: Nacho Elvira (72, 69, 72, 70, Esp), George Coetzee (70, 66, 74, 73, Rsa), Erik Van Rooyen (69, 73, 69, 72, Rsa), Callum Shinkwin (72, 65, 68, 78, Eng).

284: Keith Horne (73, 73, 70, 68, RSA).

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Gallacher breaks five-year duck

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