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Page last updated at 15:54 GMT, Wednesday, 2 June 2010 16:54 UK

Open berth within Stephen Gallacher's sights

Steven Gallacher
Gallacher was sixth at the Madrid Masters and will play at Sunningdale next week

Stephen Gallacher is looking forward to teeing off at Scotland's two big summer tournaments, insisting his game is coming together at the ideal moment.

"It's the right time of the season to hit a bit of form, coming into Loch Lomond and The Open," he said.

"To play The Open at St Andrews, for the Scots, that's one of the biggest."

The 35-year-old, sixth at the Madrid Masters and fourth in the PGA at Wentworth, will play at Sunningdale next week in an Open qualifying event.

Gallacher missed much of last season with an auto-immune illness that affected his lymph glands and was given an exemption to play on the tour this year.

To play The Open at St Andrews, for the Scots, that's one of the biggest

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But he knew he had to feature at the top end of a few leaderboards in order to win his tour card for next year's events.

"There was obviously a bit of pressure and uncertainty. My immediate goal was to try to consolidate so that I've got my playing rights back for next year," he told BBC Scotland.

"I have done that now so the pressure is off and I can enjoy it and keep on doing what I do."

However, a terrific performance at Wentworth, where he finished two shots behind surprise winner Simon Khan, guaranteed his ticket for next season.

He said: "I just hoped I would keep playing well and put myself in contention.

"I didn't really think about it. I was more interested in the tournament.

"It wasn't until after I had finished that I realised I had secured the card.

"It does take a weight off your shoulders because I had a bad year last year with injury, so it's good to get it early on in the season."

Despite being in a rich vein of form, Gallacher has still to nail down his place at St Andrews. He has the chance to do this on Monday when he will begin two rounds at Sunningdale, but, failing that, there is another route to July's showpiece tournament in Fife.

"There's a mini order of merit running from the PGA to the BMW, which I'm top of just now, so I've got a couple of bites at the cherry," he added.

Prior to that, Gallacher has the chance to try out the course at Celtic Manor, venue for the Ryder Cup, when he competes in the Welsh Open, beginning on Thursday.

Speaking of the condition of the Twenty Ten course, he said: "It's fantastic; it's in the best shape I've seen it. It will be a good dry run for the Ryder Cup.

"Monty will be hoping there's a European winner there this week.

"There have been a few tweaks here, trying a few run-off areas, bringing the water into play, I think we'll be the guinea pigs to see how they are going to set the course up for October."

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see also
Monty calls for Scots' Ryder push
27 May 10 |  Golf
Tour card delight for Gallacher
24 May 10 |  Golf


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