Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher eagled the par-4 16th en-route to a three-stroke victory over Richard Sterne of South Africa in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
The Scot, who hadn’t won on the European Tour for nine years, began the final round three shots clear of the South African. But his advantage was eliminated almost immediately as he opened with two straight bogeys and Sterne with a par and a birdie.
The pair traded the lead for the majority of the round until Gallacher struck the telling blow at the par-4 16th. Having watched his playing partner three-putt for bogey on the previous hole, the 38-year-old Scot holed his wedge shot from the rough for an eagle two – his fifth eagle of the week.
The two gave him a four-stroke lead and, although Sterne reduced the deficit to three with a birdie at the 17th, Gallacher was able to hold on for his first European Tour victory since the 2004 Dunhill Links Championship.
“I’m obviously delighted,” he said. “It’s taken a long time but hopefully I’m maturing with age! I’ve holed four shots this week, but you’ve got to do that these days to win.”
The victory should push Gallacher into the top-60 on the Official World Golf Ranking and give him a place in the WGC-Accenture Matchplay. It also greatly improves his chances of moving further up, into the top-50 and securing a start at the 2013 Masters.
“It’s the only Major I’ve never played,” he said. “It would be a dream to play there, I sit and watch it in the house with the kids every year.”
Chile’s Felipe Aguilar played a solid final round of 69 to finish the week in a tie for third with the, on-form, Dane Thorbjorn Olesen.
England’s Lee Westwood moved up to a tie for fifth with Marcus Fraser of Australia as the pair closed with rounds of 68 and 67 respectively.
Omega Dubai Desert Classic
Emirates Golf Club, Dubai
Jan 31 – Feb 3, purse €1,850,000 par 72
1 Stephen Gallacher (Sco) 63 70 62 71 266 €309,233
2 Richard Sterne (RSA) 62 70 66 71 269 €206,153
T3 Felipe Aguilar (Chi) 68 68 66 69 271 €104,460
T3 Thorbjorn Olesen (Den) 67 66 67 71 271 €104,460
T5 Marcus Fraser (Aus) 67 69 69 67 272 €71,805
T5 Lee Westwood (Eng) 67 71 66 68 272 €71,805
T7 Robert Rock (Eng) 70 68 67 68 273 €47,870
T7 Ricardo Santos (Por) 66 71 69 67 273 €47,870
T7 Steve Webster (Eng) 69 69 65 70 273 €47,870
T10 Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 65 68 69 72 274 €35,624
T10 Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind) 68 67 67 72 274 €35,624
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage
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