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Dubai champ Gallacher eyes Masters, Ryder Cup debut

Dubai: Stephen Gallacher is eyeing a Masters and Ryder Cup debut after recovering from a nightmare start to the final round to become the first player to successfully defend the Dubai Desert Classic.

Stephen Gallacher is greeted by his emotional daughter Ellie after his Dubai Desert Classic win yesterday
Stephen Gallacher is greeted by his emotional daughter Ellie after his Dubai Desert Classic win yesterday 

Gallacher began the day with a two-shot lead over playing partner Rory McIlroy, but bogeyed the first two holes and dropped shots on the sixth and eighth to fall two off the pace.

However, the Scot found the back nine at Emirates Golf Club very much to his liking for the second consecutive day, making birdies on the 11th, 13th, 16th and 17th to finish 16 under par after a closing 72.

Gallacher said: "I think it took everything I have, to be honest. After the start, it was the plague of the front nine again but I just tried to build on yesterday's performance and stay patient.

I was quite fortunate that no one was running away with it. I knew a five (on the 18th) was going to win it. It's the only time I've had backspin all week and it nearly came back into the water, but it's done now and I am delighted. To do it in the event's 25th year is even more special."

Gallacher's third European Tour victory lifts him to inside the top 40. If he can maintain that position till March end he will earn a first invite to the Augusta Masters.

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