Gal­lacher makes cut, and then some . . .

The Herald - Herald Sport - - FRONT PAGE - Bernie Mcguire AT AU­GUSTA

STEPHEN GAL­LACHER’S emo­tions re­main on an even keel de­spite ex­cite­ment among fam­ily and friends as the Scot chal­lenges for the green jacket in his maiden Masters ap­pear­ance.

Gal­lacher continues to amaze in his abil­ity to deal with ev­ery­thing Au­gusta Na­tional has served-up over the open­ing two rounds of the year’s first ma­jor, adding a rock-solid level-par 72 yes­ter­day to his open­ing 71. It left the 40-year-old head­ing back to the stately Ge­or­gian club­house at one un­der and among a se­lect group to have gone un­der par.

The sec­ond day dawned bright and sunny, but by the time Gal­lacher ended his round at 1.10pm lo­cal time the wind had picked up. Play­ing part­ner Dar­ren Clarke summed up the rock-hard greens. “I don’t know what Au­gusta has done but they are be­com­ing a lot firmer,” the North­ern Ir­ish­man re­marked.

Gal­lacher’s sec­ond round was sim­i­lar to day one with four birdies and four bo­geys, the high­lights be­ing birdies on both the par-three sixth – hol­ing a 40-footer – and par-five 15th for a sec­ond day in suc­ces­sion.

If there was a stand­out hole it was that famed par three, the 12th hole, when Gal­lacher landed his 9-iron tee shot to just three feet for birdie.

“I’m just glad to be in the club­house and in red num­bers,” he

said. “It was a bit tricky out there with the wind get­ting up and the greens are firm­ing up, so I’m de­lighted with par.

“I man­aged to get away with a few things to­day and I got lucky on a cou­ple of things. But that’s the course, if you get asleep or out of po­si­tion, it’s a bo­gey.”

As his ex­cited fam­ily and friends waited pa­tiently to con­grat­u­late Gal­lacher, the laid-back Scot did at least af­ford him­self the lux­ury of a pat on the back.

“It’s been good for my con­fi­dence mak­ing the cut, and I know I can com­pete at the high­est level on a de­mand­ing golf course, be­cause the ma­jors de­mand it, ev­ery­thing in­volved with it,” he said.

“It’s the tough­est test for the best play­ers, so it’s good for con­fi­dence for that.

“There’s no point in get­ting up­set as it doesn’t help me, so there’s no point in do­ing it. Cour­ses like Au­gusta, Royal Mel­bourne and St. An­drews are cour­ses where you have to ac­cept your shots. If you hit a bad one, then it’s how you ac­cept that and how you go on to the next one.”

While Gal­lacher had all af­ter­noon to re­flect on his achieve­ment, fel­low Scot Sandy Lyle faced an anx­ious time on the cut line, and all it would take would be a cou­ple play­ers to gain a cou­ple of shots to knock him out of the event. Bubba Wat­son birdied five holes in suc­ces­sion from the 12th hole to fin­ish on seven-un­der, which meant Lyle – at four over – had to rely on be­ing in­side the top 50 play­ers.He made it, just.

Lyle’s 72, an up and down af­fair, cer­tainly en­ter­tained as he made five birdies to can­cel out his five bo­geys. “It was a roller-coaster ride that we all tend to get when you make a birdie and think we are un­beat­able, but then the next minute an­other bo­gey comes along and then an­other birdie,” he said.

Pic­ture: Getty Sport

IT’S GOOD TO TALK: Stephen Gal­lacher dis­cusses his next shot with cad­die Damian Moore on his way to a mak­ing par on the sec­ond day at Au­gusta.

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