DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Stephen Gallacher holed an eagle on No. 16 and won the Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday, overcoming early jitters to beat playing partner Richard Sterne by three shots.
Gallacher (71) finished with 22-under 266 to take his second European Tour win and the first since 2004. The 111th-ranked Scotsman had a three-shot lead over Sterne at the start of the final round but three-putted to bogey the first, and then hit his drive far right and missed a six-footer to drop a shot on the next hole.
The two traded places several times as each struggled in windy conditions. Gallacher took the lead on No. 12 after Sterne’s second consecutive bogey and clinched the win with his fifth eagle of the week. He holed a sand wedge from 115 yards that landed a foot from the hole and rolled in to give him a four-shot lead when Sterne had his third bogey.
“I’ve holed four shots this week but then again you have to do that these days to win,” Gallacher said. “The scoring is so low and the players are so good that you need that little bit of magic.”
Gallacher moved into the top 60 of the world rankings and in a strong position to qualify for the World Golf Championships for the first time. He will also get a chance to play the Masters, the one major he has never played.
“I’m actually on target because my goal was to try to get in the Top 50 when the Ryder Cup points start, because I don’t think you’ve got a chance of getting in the Ryder Cup team if you’re not in the Top 50,” Gallacher said.
LADIES EUROPEAN TOUR: In Gold Coast, Australia, Karrie Webb won her eighth Australian Ladies Masters title, coming from two strokes behind in the final round with birdies on three of her final five holes for 5-under 67 and a two-stroke victory.
The Australian finished with 13-under 203 in the 54-hole tournament, the season-opening event on the European Ladies Tour.
South Korea’s Chella Choi finished tied for second, after a 69, with second-round co-leaders Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand, and Australian amateur Oh Su-hyun, who both shot final-round 71s.