Five Scots progress to Sun City in Final Series

Stephen Gallacher finished as the leading Scot in the Turkish Airlines Open at the Regnum Carya resort in Belek. Picture: Getty Images
Stephen Gallacher finished as the leading Scot in the Turkish Airlines Open at the Regnum Carya resort in Belek. Picture: Getty Images
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Stephen Gallacher was the only player out of five Scots in the field to jump up the Race to Dubai rankings after the $7 million Turkish Airlines Open in Belek.

But, with Scott Jamieson also just squeezing in, the same number will be involved in the second Final Series event, the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa.

Gallacher climbed four spots to 74th on the back of finishing joint-16th behind his 2014 Ryder Cup team-mate Justin Rose at the Regum Carya resort in Belek.

The 43-year-old Scot closed with a level-par 71 on a day when most players were going low on a rain-softended course to end up on 10-under-par.

It was a pleasing week’s work for Gallacher given that he had decided to weaken his right-hand grip before this event rather than waiting until the close season.

“I actually played as good today as I did all week,” he said, having headed out four off the overnight pace before starting with a birdie.

“At the third, I hit it to five foot and three-putted. I lipped out high side with both attempts. If I’d knocked the first one in, I’d have been 12-under and right in it.

“Apart from hitting my second shot in the water at the par-5 15th, I played really well. That was with a 7-iron and it was the one shot I hit left all week. That was a disappointing one, especially with a 7-iron.

“I then hit it to 10 feet at the 16th then five feet at the 17th. Before that, I probably missed six 10-15 footers, the ones I’d been holing earlier in the week.

“I’m delighted with the week, though. I’m into Sun City and hopefully I can have another half decent week in South Africa and that would then get me into Dubai. There have been a lot of good signs.”

Gallacher decided to change his grip after being sent Practical Golf, a tuition book penned by the late John Jacons, by his uncle Bernard.

He was delighted with his opening efforts of 69-65-69 and was far from down-hearted about slipping nine spots in the last round.

“Today was a day when I hit one poor shot and didn’t putt well yet still shot level,” added the three-time European Tour winner.

“Before, when that was happening, I’d maybe shoot 79. So I’m delighted to shoot 71 in that situation.

“I’m enjoying it as well. It’s the first time I’ve enjoyed four rounds for a while, apart from the Dunhill Links.

“I’ve not really been enjoying it all year, to be honest. You can get it away it [playing how he had been before this week] on a links and on courses that are really soft, but when it’s bouncy and tight it is tough.

“I’ve not got a two-way miss now. If I’m missing it, it’s to the right and that is brilliant. If it goes left, it is in a straight line and not hooked. The one at the 15th was just caused by trying to hit it too hard and it was one bad one in 72 holes.

“It is taking left out of the game - it’s as simple as that. That’s what Hogan, Snead and Nicklaus all did. Woods also never hit it left when he was in his pomp.”

Richie Ramsay dropped two spots to 26th in the Race to Dubai after he also closed with a 71 to finish in a tie for 27th on six-under.

“I played pretty good,” reported the Aberdonian afterwards. “I had just one bad hole at the ninth, where I hit a low, left sniper with my driver out of nowhere. It was a mental error and I was pretty effed off with it.”

In contrast, the three-time European Tour winner was pleased to get up and down from the left side of the green at the last, a feat achieved by Gallacher from almost the same spot a bit later.

“Last year I wouldn’t have made that up and down,” admitted Ramsay, who has seen that part of his game improve since he started working on it with Graham Walker.

“I was thinking to myself as I stood over that shot, this will be two beers on the charter flight to South Africa if I hole it and 10 if I don’t!”

David Drysdale slipped three spots to 51st on the money-list after finishing joint-56th on one-over while Marc Warren is down to places to 56th after ending up 66th.

Jamieson, who also finished on four-over, dropped four spots to 75th but he has just made it into the field for the Nedbank Challenge.

Elsewhere, Ewen Ferguson is on course to win one of the second stage events in the European Tour Qualifying School in Spain.

The 2015 Walker Cup player followed opening efforts of 68 and 69 with a six-under-par 66 at El Saler to storm into the lead heading into the final round.

Ferguson, who has seen his first full season in the paid ranks hampered by a chest injury, holds a three-shot advantage over experienced Argentinean Ricardo Gonzalez.

Sitting joint-15th on two-under, Ross Kellett is also on course to progress at El Saler while others currently in positions to advance at the three other venues include David Law and Connor Syme.

Both in the field at Las Colinas, double Scottish Amateur champion Law sit third on 12-under, a shot behind the leaders - Dane Joachim B Hansen and South African Jacques Kruyswijk - while Syme lies joint-10th on seven-under.

Former European Tour card holder Chris Doak is also on course to advance at the same venue, lying in a share of 15th in five-under.

At Desert Springs, where Englishman Matthew Baldwin leads on 16-under, Scott Henry is the sole Scot in a position to advance with a round to go.

He’s tied for 15th on seven-under, followed by Daniel Young (four-under), Robert MacIntyre (three-under) and Liam Johnston (level-par) after a third-round 76.

Due to high winds, no play was possible on the third round at Panoramica, where the battle is set to re-commence this morning.