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Gallacher Rolls in Dubai
After a rocky start in which he bogeyed the first two holes and three on the front nine, Stephen Gallacher calmed down on the home half and, thanks to an eagle two on the par-4 16th, closed with a 1-under 71 to win the European Tour's Dubai Desert Classic.
The 38-year-old Scot finished at 22-under 266 at Emirates Golf Club, three strokes ahead of South Africa's Richard Sterne, who also shot a 71, and five ahead of Chile's Felipe Aguilar (69) and Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen.
After the two bogeys at the beginning of Sunday, Gallacher birdied the next and then had four straight pars before bogeying the par-4 eighth and birdieing the ninth, making the turn in 1-over 36. He then carded six consecutive pars before the 16th, where he holed out from 120 yards while playing partner Sterne got bogey. It was Gallacher's fifth eagle of the week.
"I've holed four shots this week but, then again, you have to do that these days to win," said Gallacher, who with the victory got his second European Tour title; his first came in October 2004 at the Dunhill Links Championship. "The scoring is so low and the players are so good that you need that little bit of magic."
The Dubai win moved Gallacher into the top 60 of the world rankings, a position that would qualify him for the World Golf Championships for the first time. He also earned a cherished spot in the Masters, the one major he's never played.
The leader through the first two rounds in Dubai, Sterne overtook Gallacher atop the leaderboard following three birdies and the rest pars on the first 10 holes. But Sterne stumbled down the stretch, posting four bogeys against two bogeys the rest of the way.
"Second place is obviously pretty good, but when you're leading a tournament or tied for the lead, one shot here or there, I'm disappointed," Sterne said. "Everything swung around on 16. I was one shot behind and then 17, I'm four shots behind."
Sharing fifth at 272 were Australia's Marcus Fraser (67) and Lee Westwood. Westwood, making his 2013 debut, carded eight birdies and four bogeys in the final round.
Ricardo Santos (67), Robert Rock (68) and Steve Webster (70) tied for seventh at 273.
For all the scoring details, visit http://www.europeantour.com/europeantour/season=2013/tournamentid=2013009/leaderboard/index.html?showLeaderboard=Y.