Golf: Son’s bright putter lets Lothian star shine at Gleneagles

STEPHEN GALLACHER’S son looks to have lost his pink-shafted putter for good after it helped the Lothians star record a second top-ten finish in a row on the European Tour.

The 36-year-old recovered from an opening bogey to sign off with a three-under-par 69 in the £1.4 million Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

It gave him a ten-under-par total and a share of sixth as he just missed out on the five-man play-off that was won by Dane Thomas Bjorn.

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Gallacher, who was third in last month’s Irish Open, picked up a cheque for £45,500 and has jumped ten places to 49th in the Race to Dubai.

He was also expected to have moved back into the top 100 in the latest world rankings announced today.

“I played lovely again,” said the Kingsfield-based player, who had the title in his sights after back-to-back birdies at the 13th and 14th got him within a shot off the lead.

He then got a bad break when his drive at the 15th just strayed off the fairway and found a heavy lie. “That was the turning point,” he added.

“I was on a good roll but the 15th scuppered me as I couldn’t get to the green with my second even though I only had 135 yards.”

Gallacher was using son Jack’s putter for the first time in the event, having given up on the belly putter.

“The putter is staying,” he declared. And the pink grip? “It may as well because I don’t want to change how it feels!”

He now heads to Switzerland, where the Ryder Cup qualifying campaign starts this week in the Omega European Masters.

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“It’s a long year and you need to play really special to make the team,” said the Scot. “I need to try and get into some of the WGC events to give myself a good chance.”

Leith-based Gareth Wright closed with a battling 73 on the PGA Centenary Course to finish in a tie for 38th on one-under.

The Tartan Tour player was two-under for his round after seven-holes before dropping four shots in six holes. But he rallied well to cover the closing stretch in one-under and, all in all, gave an excellent account of himself in his first full European Tour event for some time.

It earned him a cheque for £9,240, while Braid Hills pro Paul McKechnie picked up £3,430 as he finished alongside tournament chairman Colin Montgomerie on six-over following a closing 75.