3 Feb 2014

Gallacher defends title in Dubai

6:04 am on 3 February 2014

The Scottish golfer Stephen Gallacher birdied two of the last three holes to become the first player to successfully defend the Dubai Desert Classic golf title, while Rory McIlroy crashed out of contention to finish well back.

Starting the day two strokes clear of the field, Gallacher, struggled on his first nine, but came right on the second nine to finish one shot ahead of Emiliano Grillo of Argentina.

The title defence was something that other former winners such as Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and Seve Ballesteros were unable to accomplish and it revives Gallacher's hopes of playing in the Ryder Cup in Scotland in September.

In the new world rankings out tomorrow, Gallacher should enter the top 40 which would open the door for at the Masters in early April.

Tournament favourite McIlroy endured a torrid final day and could only manage a 74 and a tie for ninth.

Tiger Woods tied for 41st.