Feb 8 2013 by Gordon Bannerman, Perthshire Advertiser
He put us through the wringer out in Dubai, but what a fantastic European Tour win for Stephen Gallacher.
I’ve been lucky enough to talk golf with Bathgate lad Stephen and he is a likeable, down to earth Scot.
Having seen his game at close quarters I was amazed to learn he had only posted one win on the European Tour, and that was nine years ago at the Home of Golf.
Just a few years ago, he had to go through the mill at Tour Q-School to regain his card.
So I was rooting for him all the way at the Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club.
Stephen had a handy three-shot advantage going into the final round. But being Scottish, you knew he was never going to give us a relaxing Sunday morning back home.
Sure enough, a three-putt opening hole had the nerves jangling. Bogey, bogey and the previous day’s incredible, career best 62 round seemed a distant memory.
Over three rounds Gallacher had bettered the previous tournament record set by Tiger.
But it’s the final round that counts and the numbers game had viewers worried as Richard Sterne took the lead.
I shared their concern, having backed the Scot at 18/1 after two rounds.
But Stephen had me off the couch with a miracle shot at the ninth.
He was working in more sand than The Hoff in his beach days .... and he was in trouble.
But somehow the desert fox weaved a shot over and under and round trees to finish with a simple two footer.
And if that had his opponent reeling, Sterne knew the game was up at the 16th when Stephen launched a wedge out of the rough and holed it to nail that long-awaited second Tour triumph and 300,000 Euros.
He took it all in his stride, admitting he went easy on the celebrations because he had a 4am wake up call and was on the school run back home!
A whole new world could open up to the Scot with this win and already the talk is of Bernard Gallacher’s nephew emerging as another home contender for the Gleneagles 2014 Ryder Cup team.
But in the short term I’d love to see Gallacher pegging it up at the Masters.
He told Sky: “The Masters is the only Major I haven’t played in. I watch it in the house every year with the kids.
“ It would be a dream toplay there.”
I enjoy seeing Scottish sportsmen competing at the highest level and Augusta in the spring is special.
Full marks to Steve Clarke, manager of West Brom.
The Scot is old school. He didn’t shirk a tackle in his playing days and he wasn’t backing down when his defender Goran Popov was red carded for spitting in the game against Spurs.
Clarke could have waffled. Instead he was brutally honest, stating: “I’m absolutely disgusted with Goran’s behaviour. One of the group has let us down and there is no excuse. There’s no place for it in life never mind on a football pitch.”