Gallacher pegged back

03/02/2013 09:23:00
Stephen Gallacher  (Getty Images)
Stephen Gallacher (Getty Images)
Stephen Gallacher's three-stroke overnight lead disappeared in two holes on the final day of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

After his European Tour best 62 in the third round - it finished with him holing a 40 yard bunker shot for an eagle - the 38 year old Scot three-putted the first in the windy conditions and then bogeyed the second as well after pushing his driving into the trees and missing from six feet.

As he did that, playing partner Richard Sterne chipped to two feet for a birdie that put them both on 19 under par - three ahead of England's Tommy Fleetwood and Indian Jeev Milkha Singh, both of whom birdied the second and long third.

Gallacher matched Sterne's birdie on the par five third, but three-putted once more at the eighth to fall one behind.

Lee Westwood, meanwhile was up to third place when he followed an outward 33 with birdies at the tenth and 11th.

He still had four strokes to make up, but was heading in the right direction - unlike Fleetwood, who drove in the water on the ninth and double-bogeyed, and compatriot Steve Webster, who after four birdies in the first six chipped into the lake at the short seventh and triple-bogeyed.

Gallacher produced a near-miracle recovery from the trees down the ninth, the ball finishing only two feet from the flag, but after a birdie there brought him back level he pulled his drive into a bush on the long tenth.

After a penalty drop it was a fine effort to salvage a par with a 15 foot putt, but Sterne got up and down from sand to nose ahead again.

There was another change at the short 11th and it was Sterne failing to get up and down from just right of the green.

That left them 20 under again and Westwood was only three behind after hitting back from an untidy bogey at the difficult 12th with more birdies on the next two.

Gallacher drove into the left-hand trees on the 12th - the same hole where his ball stuck in the branches on Friday - but ran into the clear and while he saved par Sterne, right off the tee and unable to make the green, had his second successive bogey.

Gallacher was back in front as a result, but in the ninth change of the day between them Sterne two-putted the long 13th for birdie.

Westwood's chances almost certainly went when he bogeyed the short 15th after going over the green and missed a three-foot birdie putt on the next, although he did hole from seven feet at the 17th to be three behind again.

The tournament swung massively Gallacher's way as Sterne three-putted the 15th and then saw his playing partner hole out from the rough from 110 yards at the 16th.

It was his fifth eagle of the week - the first came when he sank a seven-iron at the sixth on day one - and when Sterne three-putted again the gap was suddenly four.

Westwood went for glory on the par five last, but his fairway wood only just carried the lake and then bounced in. He took a bogey six and was down to fourth, with Chile's Felipe Aguilar chipping in at the 16th to go third.