RYDER CUP hopeful Stephen Gallacher has been named the 2014 European Tour Golfer of the Month for January.
The award follows him equalling a nine-hole scoring record on the way to becoming the first player to successfully defend the Omega Dubai Desert Classic since the event began in 1989.
Gallacher emulated José María Cañizares, Joakim Haeggman and Simon Khan by playing nine holes in nine under par – gathering seven birdies and an eagle to come home in 28 against the par of 37 in a third round 63.
The effort on the Emirates course helped the 39-year-old complete a famous victory the following day with four birdies in his last eight holes for a 72 and a 16-under par total of 272.
“I am really pleased to be named the European Tour Golfer of the Month for January, especially given some great performances by players both in South Africa and the Desert Swing events,” said Gallacher.
“To be picked ahead of the likes of Louis Oosthuizen, Pablo Larrazabal and Sergio Garcia, who were all winners last month, means a lot to me and I am very grateful to be recognised in this way.
“The Omega Dubai Desert Classic and the Emirates Golf Club is obviously a special event for me and to be given this award makes it an even more memorable month.”
He receives an engraved alms dish and a jeroboam of Moët & Chandon champagne for being the second recipient in the 30th anniversary year of an award given to the European Tour member judged to have produced the outstanding performance each calendar month throughout the season.
The European Tour Golfer of the Month panel comprises members of the Association of Golf Writers as well as commentators from television and radio.
Renton Laidlaw, commentator for the Golf Channel, said: “Louis Oosthuizen’s performance was remarkable, Pablo Larrazábal won with Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson breathing down his neck and Sergio Garcia produced a sparking finish.
“But Stephen Gallacher became the first player in 25 years to defend the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and he did it with two back nine’s to die for in the third and fourth round against arguably the strongest field of the month.
“Stephen is an excellent ambassador for the European Tour, he dug deep on the final day and he fully deserves to be the European Tour Golfer of the Month for January.”