Ryder Cup: Stephen Gallacher secures Match Play spot

RYDER Cup debutant Stephen Gallacher has secured another match-play assignment alongside Henrik Stenson and Graeme McDowell after they join forces for Europe at Gleneagles.
Stephen Gallacher. Picture: GettyStephen Gallacher. Picture: Getty
Stephen Gallacher. Picture: Getty

While only Stenson, the world No 3, and defending champion McDowell have been confirmed so far by organisers of the Volvo World Match Play Championship, Gallacher will also be in the field at the London Club in Kent from 15-19 October.

The 39-year-old, picked as a Ryder Cup wild card by European captain Paul McGinley along with Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood, secured his place in the £1.8 million Match Play through his lofty position – ninth at the moment – on this season’s Race to Dubai. It will be his second successive appearance, having made his debut when it was held in an earlier slot on the schedule last season at Thracian Cliffs in Bulgaria. There, he lost to eventual winner McDowell and Chris Wood in the group stage.

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Gallacher has managed to qualify again this year despite the field being cut from 24 to 16 players. Instead of eight groups of three, players will be split into four groups of four, with the top two in each advancing to the knock-out phase.

Having played five events in a row as he made his final Ryder Cup push, Gallacher is sitting out both this week’s European Masters in Switzerland and the KLM Open starting in the Netherlands next Thursday. He will almost certainly then return to action the week before the Ryder Cup in the Wales Open at Celtic Manor.

Meanwhile, Paul Lawrie will sit down with Gallacher at some point between now and Gleneagles to pass on his experience of playing in two Ryder Cups to his compatriot.

“I got a text back from Stevie when I sent him my congratulations on making the team to ask if he could pick my brains sometime in the next two weeks which, of course, would be a pleasure,” said Lawrie. “I’m so happy for Stevie to have made it as he’s always had the talent.”