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Open Championship target

Gallacher’s last chance to secure Birkdale berth

Stephen Gallacher
Stephen Gallacher is focused on qualifying for The Open at Royal Birkdale (Photo: SNS Group).

Paul Kiddie
PAUL KIDDIE reports from Dundonald

Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher hopes to build on a strong start to the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open as he bids to secure a place in next week’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

The leading three players who finish in the top ten and ties at Dundonald Links – and who are not already exempt – will earn a place in the 146th Open.

Gallacher relied on some local knowledge gained from his regular games on the Ayrshire course prior to its selection as this year’s venue to card a four-under-par 68 in yesterday’s opening round, three behind overnight leader Mikko Ilonen from Finland.

One of the earlier starters in the second round today, the Ryder Cup winner admitted Birkdale has never been far from his thoughts in recent weeks.

He said: “I’ve played here a lot. Any time you’re familiar with a golf course it’s easier. You know where to hit it and where to miss.

“You’ve got to get it on the fairways to start. You’ve got to leave it on certain sides of the holes. You’ve got to hit fairways and then get your irons close to get a good score.

“I’d love to play in the Open so I know I need to play well, and we saw a couple of the guys do it last week, which was brilliant to get more Scots in it.

“I use that as motivation. This is my only chance and I’d love to play at Birkdale.

“It’s been my goal for the last three weeks to try to make Birkdale. I started to play well in Ireland and this just shows how close it is.”

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