ON the day of the Great Scottish Run, Stephen Gallacher’s circuit round Close House was hardly a personal best. “Four hours and 45 minutes lads,” said the 42-year-old with a wry grin as he darted into the recording tent.

Having sprinted round in half the time on Saturday when he was out on his own, this must have felt like the wheezing slog of a marathon.

Despite the lingering effects of chronic sinusitis, which left him on a drip after round one of the previous week’s Portugal Masters and eventually led to him withdrawing, Gallacher got to the finishing line here in one piece.

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A closing round of four-under 66, which was highlighted by an eagle on the sixth, put the tin lid on a good weekend for the former Ryder Cup player who covered his last 36-holes in eight-under to haul himself up into the top 20 on a 10-under aggregate.

Given those health issues, and the exacting, draining terrain of Close House’s robust elevations, it was hardly surprising that Gallacher was feeling it a bit at the end.

“I’m absolutely shattered,” said Gallacher, who made the cut on the qualifying limit on Friday and pushed on from there. “I’m pleased, though. The most pleasing thing was my mental approach. I wasn’t feeling 100 per cent so I had to play within myself a lot. I also had to dig in at the end of the second round to make the cut as I was struggling but I’ve had a strong weekend and it’s been worth it.”

Next up for Gallacher is this week’s Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns. With rounds in the Pro-Am format regularly stretching to some five-and-a-half hours, it will be another test of his mettle.

“I’ll probably not play any practice rounds ahead of that to be honest,” said Gallacher, who won the Dunhill title back in 2004 and is targeting a high finish to earn a place in the following week’s Italian Open which is part of the lucrative Rolex Series.

“I just finished the anti-biotics the other day so I’m just going to chill. I’ll maybe walk a bit of Carnoustie and perhaps play eight holes at St Andrews. That’ll do me. I knew both these weeks were going to be really tough, mentally and physically, so I’ll just take it easy. I need a top-10 to get into Italy so that’s the goal.”

Marc Warren will also head to the east coast in reasonable fettle after finishing alongside Gallacher on the 10-under mark with a closing 68.

“I’m doing a lot of things really well,” he said. “I have better control of the shots I’m hitting off the tee and technically my swing is getting better and better. I think I’m seeing the results of that on the course.”