Written by: SSP Chawrasia
I did not have the best of Hero Indian Open outings, but the small consolation was making the cut the way I did with a eagle-birdie finish on the second day. I did not give in, though at times that day, Friday, I felt I was out of the weekend action.
I am sure Stephen Gallacher may have felt a bit like that after that quadruple bogey on seventh. He took a sharp fall and with others so many shots ahead and conditions being tough and windy, it would have taken a lot of guts to still see some chances.
Clearly he did not give up. In the last 10 holes, he made six birdies and one bogey. His birdies included three in last four holes and that is a really tough stretch. He believed and it gave him rich dividends. In fact the Trophy and the cheque apart, he is now exempt for two years and can make his schedule and play where he wants on European Tour.
However, be sure, India will feature prominently on his schedule. He has been coming here each year since 2017 and has been improving.
He was in the final group last year and now he is the champion. Gallacher hung in because he realised that in the windy conditions and a tough course anyone could fall anytime. He proved that by recovering well while others did not and that is what champions do.
I also remember Stephen from 2008 when India hosted its first European Tour event. I was fortunate to win that, but at DGC. He was there that year and I have seen him play so well in Dubai, where he was champion twice and finished Top-10 many times more. Indeed at 44, he is an inspiration that age is just a number and never to give while on a golf course.
For me, I ended with a 75 that had two doubles in last three holes – on 16th and 17th. That was also where Gallacher made his winning move. From an Indian viewpoint, Chikka and Rashid Khan were Tied-10th, while Shubhankar Sharma was T-27th. Shubhankar has had a lot of problems on just one hole—the eighth, where he dropped a lot of shots this week.
Finally, it was multiple celebration for Gallacher. He had his son, Jack, on the bag and he has had him for the past year. Obviously he is proving to be good for him and I am sure the partnership is going to continue.
(SSP Chawrasia is a two-time Hero India Open champion)