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Operation paves way for Dubai triumph as Scot rockets up the rankings

It may not have been on a par with Tiger Woods' US Open win of 2008, which was eked out despite severe cruciate ligament damage in his knee and two stress fractures of his left tibia, but Stephen Gallacher's Dubai Desert Classic victory at the weekend gave further weight to the old phrase "beware the injured golfer".

The 38-year-old eased to his first European Tour win since 2004 in the Middle East on Sunday just over two months on from an operation on a bothersome knee ligament injury that left him limping over the line as the 2012 campaign drew to a close.

Gallacher went in for surgery the week after the Race to Dubai finale in December and the fact that he has won in just his third event back is something of a minor miracle.

"Having the operation was a massive part of me winning," he said. "The surgeon told me that it was a trapped ligament. It was causing a lot of pain through last year. I couldn't practise, I couldn't putt, I couldn't bend down, so I had to have it done. It's still not 100%, but I've got 90% movement now. I still need to get into the gym as the muscles have shrunk a bit, so that's still ongoing but it has made a huge difference getting it done."

Gallacher's win, which propelled him up to 60th (from 111) on the world rankings and should now guarantee him a place in the forthcoming WGC-Accenture Matchplay Championship, means the Bathgate man will spend the next few days re-jigging his schedule after a number of fresh opportunities have opened up for him.

Gallacher had been scheduled to travel to South Africa for this week's Joburg Open and stay at the villa of Richard Sterne, the man he beat by three shots to secure the Dubai title. In a good-natured way, Sterne had labelled the Scot a "jammy b*****d" after his wedge from the rough on the 16th hole of the final round dropped in for an eagle and joked that it would cost Gallacher "another $1000 for the room".

With a cheque for over €300,000 tucked in his back pocket, Gallacher probably could have afforded the rate.

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