Sergio Garcia’s decision to miss the European Tour’s season-ending event for the second time in three years has allowed Stephen Gallacher to get into this week’s DP World Tour Championship.
Gallacher is sitting 61st in the Race to Dubai following the BMW Masters in Shanghai, the penultimate event in the Final Series, and would have missed out on the $8 million tournament starting at Jumeirah Golf Estates on Thursday if all the players above him had taken up their spots.
Due to the fact I’m now hosting the Saltire Energy Match Play at Murcar Links, it was the perfect time to go back onPaul Lawrie
However, the 41-year-old will join two of his compatriots, Marc Warren and Richie Ramsay, in the line-up due to 27th-ranked Garcia controversially deciding to miss the finale again.
“I knew about Sergio before the weekend and George Coetzee [32nd on the money-list] is also doubtful,” Gallacher told The Scotsman after being unable to move up the rankings as he finished joint-46th behind Sweden’s Kristoffer Broberg at Lake Malaren.
His best finish in four previous starts on Greg Norman’s Earth Course is 16th in 2012, but the Lothians man, of course, has found Dubai a happy hunting ground in recent years with record-breaking back-to-back victories in the Omega Desert Classic at The Emirates.
Warren, who returned to form with a vengeance as he signed off with a 66 to finish joint 37th in Shanghai, is heading into this week’s event sitting 26th on the money-list. That’s where he finished up last season when the Glaswegian enjoyed his best campaign, so he certainly has ample incentive to sign off this campaign with a strong performance.
Sidelined for five weeks with an eye infection before the start of the Final Series, Ramsay, who finished just behind Gallacher in a share of 53rd in China, has slipped to 57th on the money-list.
While another Scot, Paul Lawrie, was unable to take his season to the wire in the UAE, he has re-joined the Tour’s powerful tournament committee after a two-year gap. “Due to the fact I’m now hosting the Saltire Energy Match Play at Murcar Links, it was the perfect time to go back on,” said the Aberdonian.
The move comes hot on the heels of Lawrie being critical of some players for their pre-shot routines when he was out in Spain watching his oldest son, Craig, play in the second stage of the circuit’s Qualifying School.
Elsewhere, Scottish golf’s man of the moment, Russell Knox, had moved into a share of the lead when heavy rain forced play to be suspended in the final round of the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in Mexico.
Three off the pace at the start of the day following back-to-back 65s at El Camaleon in Playa del Carmen, the 30-year-old reeled off four birdies in a row from the third to move to 17-under-par.
Bidding for back-to-back wins following his breakthrough victory in the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai a week earlier, Knox briefly held the outright lead before being re-joined by American Jason Bohn.
The Scot had set up another birdie chance at the par-3 eighth when the weather turned nasty, and, although players were initially held in position out on the course in the hope it would blow over quickly, it soon became apparent that a lengthy delay was likely. Knox was bidding to become the first back-to-back winner on the PGA Tour since Colombia’s Camilo Villegas achieved the feat in 2008. He was also trying to join Rory McIlroy by winning in consecutive starts on different continents after the Northern Irishman claimed the Open Championship and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in quick succession last year.
Knox, of course, was also bidding to follow in Sandy Lyle’s footsteps as he won the 1988 Masters a week after also tasting victory in the Greater Greensboro Open. “I’m tired and running on fumes,” said the Inverness man after storming into contention on Saturday. “I’m looking forward to putting my feet up next week, but the adrenaline of playing well is helping me keep going.”