Golf: Gallacher to lend Coltart help in Spain

LOTHIANS star Stephen Gallacher will provide encouragement for Edinburgh-based Andrew Coltart when he joins seven other Scots at the final stage of the European Tour Qualifying School starting tomorrow in Spain.

Coltart, a former Ryder Cup player, has found himself back at the six-round test for the fourth year running after finishing 143rd in this season's Race to Dubai.

He's joined on this occasion by Marc Warren and Alastair Forsyth, both two-time European Tour winners who also find themselves fighting for their futures after slipping to 124th and 127th respectively on the back of a disappointing 2010 campaign.

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All three will take encouragement from the renaissance of Gallagher, who, as he recovered from a debilitating virus, finished third behind English duo Simon Khan and Sam Hutsby at last year's Qualifying School.

Gallacher didn't need to go to Girona 12 months ago, having already secured a number of starts on the main European circuit in 2010 through a medical exemption.

But it proved to be a wise decision, the former Dunhill Links champion using his performance there as a springboard for a campaign that saw him finish 26th in that Race to Dubai.

Now Coltart, Warren and Forsyth will be hoping for a similar result at the PGA Catalunya Resort, where they are also being joined by Raymond Russell from Prestonpans and two of Saltman brothers, Lloyd and Elliott.

Russell, another former Tour winner, has already secured his return to the circuit following a four-year absence after finishing 19th on the Challenge Tour money-list this season.

His aim over the next six days is to get a better one that will ensure more starts next season.

The Saltmans both came through the second stage in Spain earlier this week along with two other Scots, former Australian Amateur champion Jack Doherty and Chris Doak, this year's Scottish PGA Championship winner.

After four rounds - two each at the Stadium and Tour courses - the field will be cut to the top 70 and ties. They will play a further two rounds over the Stadium course to determine the 30 who'll earn Tour cards.