Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Gallagher looking for confidence boost in

Scottish Hydro Challenge at Aviemore

By Martin Dempster
John Gallagher is hoping this week's Scottish Hydro Challenge at Spey Valley can power up his season.
After two missed cuts on the PGA EuroPro Tour this season, the Swanston New man has headed up to Aviemore low on confidence. But he's hoping it will just take one good performance to get him firing on all cylinders again, and this would certainly be the week to do it.
The Challenge Tour event carries a prize fund of £165,000 and Gallagher, pictured left by Cal Carson Golf Agency, knows a strong showing in Speyside could lead to bigger and better things.
In the same event last year, Italian Edoardo Molinari finished second behind Fifer Jamie McLeary and has gone on to break into the top 50 in the world.
Third-placed Peter Whiteford is now doing well on the European Tour while Welshman Rhys Davies, who finished further down the field last year, is staking a strong claim to get into Colin Montgomerie's Ryder Cup side.
"If you are going to have a good week, this is certainly the week to do it," admitted Gallagher, the 2007 Scottish Amateur champion.
"The prize-money is a lot better and, if you finish in the top ten, you qualify for the next event on the Challenge Tour.
"This is definitely the week to get going and I will hopefully have a good one."
Gallagher, whose amateur exploits certainly helped put Swanston New on the map at a time when a lot of exciting changes were being made at the Capital club, admits life near the bottom of the ladder in the professional ranks has been far from easy.
But, helped by the support of some excellent sponsors, he's determined to keep plugging away and sees Whiteford as an example of how quickly things can turn around in golf.
"Peter was ready to jack it in not that long ago but his confidence was boosted by a couple of wins. Now he's on the European Tour and is one of the top Scottish players," he added.
"It is not impossible to do well and all I am lacking more than anything else at the moment is a bit of confidence."
Gallagher pinpoints inconsistency as the reason for his brace of missed cuts on this season's PGA EuroPro Tour but is hoping a session with coach Ian Rae yesterday would get him sorted.
"There's been some good stuff, which has been allowing me to make eagles and birdies, but equally I've been making too many mistakes that have been costing me double-bogeys," he said.
"It is hard to come back from them because it is a sprint on the EuroPro Tour.
"However, I'm definitely not dead in the water and feel my game isn't a million miles away from getting me back in there challenging again."
Thirty Scots are in the field at Macdonald Spey Valley, Aviemore. The 72-hole event starts tomorrow, and defending champion McLeary, who is attached to Marriott Dalmahoy, spearheads a strong Lothians contingent.
It also includes two of the Saltman brothers, Elliot and Lloyd, as well as Raymond Russell, Mark Kerr, Lee Harper and Shaun McAllister.



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