Gallacher leads in Dubai
Updated: Saturday, 02 Feb 2013 14:02
Two days after matching his best ever European Tour round, Scotland's Stephen Gallacher amazingly went one better in Dubai today.
Holing a 40-yard bunker shot for eagle at the last gave the 38-year-old a magical 62 and he goes into the final round of the Omega Desert Classic three strokes ahead of South African Richard Sterne.
Gareth Maybin is tied for tenth on 11 under. Peter Lawrie is on nine under and Damien McGrane is on three under.
Gallacher, nephew of former Ryder Cup captain Bernard, has won only once in more than 400 Tour events and that was nine years ago on home soil at St Andrews.
But he was joint runner-up with Lee Westwood in this event last February and might never have a better chance to lift another trophy.
Dane Thorbjorn Olesen is three shots back in third and then comes a further two-shot gap to England's Tommy Fleetwood, Indian Jeev Milkha Singh and Chile's Felipe Aguilar.
Gallacher's round contained two eagles and the first of those at the long 13th was nearly an albatross. After a massive drive he needed just an eight-iron and it hit the flag before stopping less than four feet away.
He had already notched six birdies by then and the spectacular finish was simply the icing on the cake.
It is only four years since the former Scottish and European amateur champion had to return to the Tour qualifying school during a battle with the viral infection sarcoidosis that affected his lungs and joints.
But he came through that and is now poised for a victory that would lift him from 111th on the world rankings into the top 60 for the first time.
That would virtually secure him a debut in the Accenture Match Play in Arizona later this month, while a climb into the top 50 by the end of next month would mean a trip to Augusta for the US Masters.