Stephen Gallacher and David Drysdale in Madrid mix as card crunch looms

There’s life in the two old dogs yet and, by the looks of things, fellow 47-year-olds Stephen Gallacher and David Drysdale aren’t going to give up long-held seats at the DP World Tour’s top table without a fight.

At the halfway stage in the acciona Open de España presented by Madrid, Gallacher shares the lead with Englishman Paul Waring on 12-under-par while Drysdale is just one behind after the two Scots maintained strong starts.

Their presence at the top of a leaderboard at this stage of the season is a welcome boost as the experienced duo find themselves running out of time to retain their cards for another season.

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Gallacher, a four-time winner on the circuit, has been a top-tour player since 1996, while Drysdale, who is still chasing that elusive breakthrough, has held his card for 18 campaigns in a row and 20 in total.

Stephen Gallacher pictured on day two of the acciona Open de Espana presented by Madrid at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid. Picture: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images.
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But, heading into this event, which marked the start of the final five weeks of the regular season, they’ve both got their backs against the wall.

Gallacher sits 193rd in the DP World Tour Rankings and Drysdale lies 176th, with 117th being the projected cut-off in this season’s card battle.

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Rising to that challenge, Gallacher has opened with back-to-back 65s at Club de Campo in Madrid after flushing the disappointment of three straight missed cuts in a row out of his system by playing in all four rounds in the Dunhill Links.

“It’s funny,” said the Bathgate man after signing for seven birdies in his second circuit. “Going into the Dunhill, I worked hard with my coach (Alan McCloskey) and just found something at the Dunhill, where I played well in practice and all the way through. And I carried it on here, playing well in the pro-am and then for the first two days as well.

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David Drysdale was 'very happy' after his second round in Madrid. Stuart Franklin/Getty Images.

“You are always working to improve and we just worked on my backswing. It’s also been a different way of thinking as I’ve been working with my psychologist as well, just freeing myself up and just swinging at it.”

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So far, so good. But, with Jon Rahm lurking just two shots behind and 2021 Scottish Open champion Min Woo Lee also in the mix, both Gallacher and Drysdale will need more of the same.

“Halfway, you’ve done not a bad job and now you need to do the same again,” added Gallacher. “You’ve got some great players playing, the weather has been perfect and the course is in unbelievable condition, so you can shoot a low score. We’ll just see what happens. If I can play the same over the weekend, who knows.”

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Drysdale followed an opening 65 with an equally-impressive 66. “Yeah, very happy,” he said. “There’s been some mixed stuff from tee to green and some very good putting. I three-putted the last, which was a bit of a shame as that was my first dropped shot in two days. But I’m very pleased to be in that position heading into the weekend.”

He’s hoping that his wife, Vicky, will be back on the bag for the final two rounds. “She wasn’t feeling well yesterday morning, but was keen to caddie but she was sick three times on the way round.

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“Today I had a local lad who was the club champion here a couple of years ago and he helped me round today, but hopefully Vicky will be back in action tomorrow.”

Afrer a 65, Marc Warren is also in the top 20 on seven-under, with Craig Howie making the cut on two-under and David Law and Grant Forrest progressing as well on one-under.

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