Stephen Gallacher becomes just the 14th player to reach the milestone
Stephen Gallacher becomes just the 14th player to reach the milestone Image Credit: Supplied

Stephen Gallacher joined an exclusive club when he teed off at the Aviv Dubai Championship this morning, as he became just the 14th player to reach 600 European Tour appearances.

The two-time Dubai Desert Classic champion carded a two under par 70 at Jumeirah Golf Estates to mark the achievement of becoming just the fourth Scot to reach the milestone, after Sam Torrance, Colin Montgomerie and Paul Lawrie.

It seemed fitting that Dubai played host to the memorable occasion after Gallacher’s heroics over the Majlis at Emirates Golf Club in 2013 and 2014.

After a nine-year trophy drought following his maiden win on home soil at the Home of Golf, Gallacher lifted the iconic Dallah Trophy in 2013 following a dramatic final round, where he holed his approach to the par four 16th for his fifth eagle of the week to finally shake off the challenge of Richard Sterne for a three-stroke victory.

He became the first man to successfully defend his title the year after in what was the 25th anniversary of the tournament, which boasted every previous winner, bar the late, great Seve Ballesteros.

That win helped secure Gallacher’s Ryder Cup debut, as he was selected by Captain McGinley for a European side which went on to record a memorable 16½ - 11½ win over Tom Watson’s USA team at Gleneagles.

His fourth European Tour victory came at the 2019 Hero Indian Open, overcoming Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura in New Delhi for a win made even more special by the fact that his son Jack was carrying his bag.

“Obviously I’m very proud to reach this number,” said Gallacher. “It’s one of those ones that creeps up on you. When I reached 500, that was pretty good to do and there have been a lot of guys that have done it, but 600 is a bit more special. Here’s to 700 now!

“Dubai is the place that put me on the map, helped me get in the Ryder Cup with my second win here in 2014. I just love it here and I love coming over. There’s something in the air that brings the best out in me, so I’m delighted to do it here.

“I think it’s important to give back to the game, especially coming from the Home of Golf, and we’re such a small country. It’s great to see that golf is blooming in Scotland now.

“I’ve been doing my Foundation for almost ten years and we don’t do it just to see people come on tour - it’s more about participation levels - but it’s nice to see players who have played in your own events and then come through to the European Tour. It’s in great health now, golf in Scotland, and it’s great to see.”