Stephen Gallacher aims to make presence felt in Morocco

Stephen Gallacher is hoping his recent return to winning ways augurs well for a change of fortune in the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco.

Buoyed by his recent win in the Hero Indian Open, Stephen Gallacher spearheads a nine-strong Scottish contingent in the Trophee Hassan II. Picture: Getty Images

The 43-year-old tees up at Royal Dar Es Salam in his first outing since chalking up his fourth European Tour triumph and first in more than five years in the Hero Indian Open in New Delhi.

Gallacher has missed the cut two years running at the same venue, carding an 80 in the second round as he made an early exit 12 months ago, and he reckons it’s time to end that run.

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“It’s surprising that I’ve not done great here in recent years as it’s a course that should suit my game,” said Gallacher, who spearheads a nine-strong Scottish contingent in the €2.5 million event.

“It’s a brilliant golf course - one of the best we play all year - and a great tournament. So it is nice coming in this year with a bit of form and see if I can contend again on Sunday.”

Gallacher feels “pretty refreshed” for his return to action, having finished birdie-birdie with his 18-year-old son Jack on the bag to taste victory again at the end of last month.

“It’s been a good three-week break, though I had quite a lot on,” he said. “I had my Foundation dinner and also watched The Masters. We had some friends and family round as well, so it’s been a very enjoyable three weeks.”

Reflecting on how he bounced back from hitting 5 off the tee and running up a quadruple-bogey 8 at the seventh hole in the final round in New Delhi, the Lothians man added: “It showed that the mental stuff I’ve been working on over the years had paid off as my pre-shot routine was strong and stable.

“I think mentally coming back from that was a big boost. Plus my game held up technically as well under pressure, which is also a real positive going forward for the rest of the year.”

Joining Gallacher in flying the Saltire in Rabat are David Drysdale, Scott Jamieson, David Law, Marc Warren, Grant Forrest, Liam Johnston, Bob MacIntyre and Richie Ramsay, the winner in 2015 but at a different course,

Running concurrently for the fourth consecutive year is the LET’s Lalla Meryem Cup, which sees England’s Meghan MacLaren aiming to keep up the strong start to the season that has put her in the Solheim Cup mix.

After strong performances so far in both Australia and Jordan, a victory in the Moroccan capital would see her leapfrog Charley Hull and Carlota Ciganda into second place on the European points list for September’s match at Gleneagles.

“I’ll always be aiming for the top,” said MacLaren, a double medallist in last year’s European Team Championships at the Pertshire venue.

“Everything I do is about being the best I can be, and I think I get my best results when I’m completely focused on that,” she said.

Her rivals include a tartan contingent comprising of Michele Thomson, Carly Booth, Vikki Laing, Rachael Taylor, Kylie Henry and Kelsey Macdonald.

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