Gallacher makes cut, and then some . . .
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.
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.