Stephen Gallacher has welcomed a “fresh wave” of Scottish players on the European Tour next season after Grant Forrest, Liam Johnston, Bob MacIntyre and David Law all secured cards for the first time as Challenge Tour graduates.
The quartet finished in the top 15 on the second-tier circuit’s money-list to join Gallacher, Russell Knox, David Drysdale, Scott Jamieson, Richie Ramsay and Paul Lawrie in flying the Saltire on the main tour in 2019, with the possibility of that total being bolstered at the Qualifying School.
“It’s a brilliant achievement,” said Gallacher, a European Tour veteran, having held a card since 1996, of four newcomers being added to golf’s tartan army. “It’s nice to get a fresh wave on the tour.
“I didn’t know Liam that well, but he’s really come out on to the scene. I’ve known Grant a long time. I knew his father very well. I’m delighted for the four of them and I can’t praise them highly enough, really. They all fed off each other and they all started doing well. The confidence was breeding in them.”
The 2019 campaign gets underway in Hong Kong at the end of this month, with other events taking place in Australia, Mauritius and South Africa before the end of the year, and all four will be looking to get off to fast starts as they bid to finish in the top 110 in the Race to Dubai.
“The best bit of advice I can give is not to change anything,” added Gallacher, a three-time winner on the tour. “Just do the same stuff you’ve been doing. It’s got you here, so keep going and look forward to it. Keep doing what you’re doing.
“When I first came out, Tour School didn’t get you much. The Challenge Tour did. It’s knowing you have a full year and you can plan a schedule. When you come through the Q-School you can often get a lot of last-minute call-ups and it’s hard to plan anything.
“These lads will know what they are in and what they are not, so they can map out a schedule. I guarantee they’ll play the first three or four. They’ll be fresh and keen, which is great.”
Meanwhile, Gemma Dryburgh will be competing on the LPGA Tour for the second season running after the Aberdonian passed a gruelling eight-round test in the US circuit’s Q-Series at Pinehurst in North Carolina. The 25-year-old closed with a 72 for a four-over-par 580 total, finishing joint 23rd in an event that also saw England’s Mel Reid secure a card.