The Open: Gallacher cruises through with consistency

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IT wasn’t quite Faldo-esque but it wasn’t far away. While Nick reeled off 18 consecutive pars to register the first of two wins here in 1987, Stephen Gallacher signed for 16 in his second-round.

It helped him to a one-under 69 and a four-over total, meaning the Lothians man progressed to the final two rounds in his home Open with something to spare. “I know how he (Faldo) must have felt because it was a grind,” remarked Gallacher as he wiped sweat from his brow on another hot day.

The Dubai Desert Classic champion enjoyed a stroke of luck for the highlight of his day – an eagle-3 at the 554-yard ninth. “I got a flyer out of the rough with my second, it hit the wall and came back on to the green and I holed it from about 30 feet,” he said. “You always keep it below the wall height at that hole!”

It was a classic case of luck evening itself out. At the fifth, he’d been unable to get any stance at all and found himself crouching like a tiger trying to escape. It led to his only dropped shot. “I can’t believe the difference in the course from Wednesday to Thursday to Friday,” he said after making the cut for the third time in four years. “The greens went from 15 on the stimpmeter on Thursday afternoon to nine overnight.

“I was caught out by the pace all day long. I had one at the first that was straight downwind and left it six feet short. Yesterday you’d have been doing well to stop a putt like that four feet past the hole.”

After initially fearing he’d probably fall one short, Sandy Lyle is around for the weekend for the first time since 2007 at Carnoustie. “After this, I’m playing the Senior Open at Royal Birkdale (next week), so it is nice to keep playing and keep the momentum going,” admitted the 1985 champion after a 72 that included his second birdie of the week at the 18th.

The Scottish contingent in the final two rounds dramatically rose to five late in the day as Paul Lawrie, who’d bounced back from his opening 81 with a fine 69, and Richie Ramsay both scraped through on eight-over.

Edinburgh-based Welshman Gareth Wright also made it. Playing in the last group, he dropped five shots in a row from the 12th but parred the last two for a 78 and seven-over.