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Stephen Gallacher relishing familiar test at Hero Indian Open

Stephen Gallacher relishing familiar test at Hero Indian Open

Stephen Gallacher is hoping a return to familiar territory can inspire him back to his best as he makes his long-awaited defence at the Hero Indian Open.

The Scot claimed his fourth DP World Tour win at DLF Golf and Country Club in 2019 but the event has not been played since due to the Covid-19 pandemic and this week makes a welcome return to the schedule.

Gallacher's win four years ago ended a five-year drought and was sealed with son Jack on the bag, with the duo teaming up again this week.

And while the 2014 Ryder Cup star may not have secured a top ten since lifting the trophy in New Delhi, he is feeling good ahead of taking on a layout that is largely unchanged since his victory.

“I feel great," he said. "It’s 1,400-odd days since I was last here so there’s been a lot of hardship that’s happened since then but it’s great to be here and get the event played.

“There are plenty of great memories. It’s a course that’s not really changed very much, it’s in amazing condition, same as the last time we were here and I’ve got some great memories coming down the stretch. Hopefully I can replicate them this week.

“It’s absolutely identical [to 2019]. There’s a bit more growth, you can see the trees are filling out and it looks a bit narrower with the trees filled out a bit but it’s great. The weather is perfect, 30 degrees, not too hot, it’s got the makings of a great week.

"It’s just one of those courses you’ve got to be patient at, it’s not one you can force a score on. I had a poor hole on seven and then I think I had five or six birdies from then on in. Anything can happen.

"You’ve got to play with your head around here. Par is a good score. There’s some tough, tough holes and few you can attack but it’s just a really tough track and one of the best we play all year to be honest."

The Gary Player-designed course in one of the most visually striking the players face all year, with huge, imposing revetted bunkers presenting a major challenge.

Gallacher, however, is a big fan of the sand at DLF Golf and Country Club - as long as he can stay out of it.

“I think the bunkers are brilliant," he said. "Aesthetically they look fantastic. They’re just like back home, revettes, but I know how hard they are to maintain a revetted bunker. The elements can wear them away back home and that’s why they’re there, for a purpose, but I think they look great.

"You’ve got to try and stay out of them, they’re deep, but it is what it is, it’s an unbelievable golf course to play visually. It’s stunning, the bunkers make it look just so good, you’ve got the plants, big swales, it’s just a good track and I think it looks brilliant.”

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