Saturday, 20 February 2016
Stephen Gallacher  (Getty Images)
Stephen Gallacher (Getty Images)

Stephen Gallacher took a leaf out of the book of another Scottish sporting hero as he kick-started his season with an impressive 66 in the third round of the Maybank Championship Malaysia.

The Ryder Cup star has had a poor start to the campaign by his lofty standards, missing three cuts on the Desert Swing, but he fired rounds of 68-70 to make it into the weekend at Royal Selangor Golf Club.

A blemish-free effort on Saturday left him six shots behind leader Soomin Lee going into the final round, and he revealed he had taken some inspiration from tennis star Andy Murray as he tried to keep cool in the hot and humid conditions in Kuala Lumpur.

"It can be a bit of a distraction, but I've taken plenty of food and drink on board, and so far it hasn't been too much of an issue," he said.

I've also got about five towels in the bag, so I feel a bit like Andy Murray! - Stephen Gallacher

"It's a bit of a role reversal for people complaining about the cold weather when they come to Scotland, whereas I'm obviously used to it."

Gallacher, three times a winner on The European Tour, finished 60th on The Race to Dubai last season but is hopeful that his best form is not far from returning.

"I went through a bit of a lull so obviously your confidence takes something of a knock," he said. "Instead of looking to shoot 66s, you're more interested in trying to break par. But hopefully I've turned things round now and can kick on for the rest of the season."

On Saturday's round, he added: "I knew I needed to push on at the start of the day, because I was a fair way back. So I'm very happy with that performance today, because I've brought myself into contention."

Mikko Ilonen is alongside Gallacher at nine under after he matched Lee's effort with a 64 on Saturday.

The Finn finished 81st in the standings last season but has been top 25 in his three events in 2016 as he too aims to have a more productive campaign.

"I'm feeling pretty confident over the ball," he said. "Even though I wasn't always hitting it straight today, when I stood over the ball I felt good.

"And whatever the result is, I really don't care. It's how you feel over the ball that really matters, and at the moment I feel confident.

"I spent a lot of time in the rough, but managed to get up and down every time except once, on the first. All the birdies were basically kick-ins, when I got dialled in I hit it really close. Then when I found trouble I got out of it."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1FRASER, MarcusAUS18-15
T2TABUENA, MiguelPHI18-13
T2LEE, SoominKOR18-13
T4QUESNE, JulienFRA18-12
T4CAMPILLO, JorgeESP18-12
T6BLAND, RichardENG18-11

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