The royal remnants of King Richard III unearthed in a Leicester car park. Whatever next? The rusting circuit boards of the "For Mash Get Smash" martian robots discovered under Colin Montgomerie's jowls? It's amazing what you find if you just keep chipping away. Just ask Stephen Gallacher.
Like a dogged archaeologist – minus the crumb-ridden beard, holed jumper and finger nails like worn trowels – the 38-year-old's honest toil, determination, patience and bountiful skills have been rewarded with a long overdue success.
The Bathgate man's triumph in the Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday, his first since his maiden win on the European Tour back in 2004, was the crowning glory in another highly satisfying week for Scottish golf at a variety of levels.
With a runners-up finish on the Challenge Tour in India for Andrew McArthur, victories on the EPD Tour and the Asian Tour's developmental circuit by David Law and James Byrne respectively and a win for veteran David James in the European Senior Tour's qualifying school, even those sour-faced cynics, who look like they've just been asked to stump up the aforementioned monarch's outstanding parking fines to Leicester City Council, would be hard-pressed not to feel even the slightest sense of cheeriness.
The sigh of relief that greeted Gallacher's weekend win was considerable. Ever since he won the Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews over eight years ago, we have all been waiting for that much-needed second success and there would've been many who feared it might never arrive. The former Walker Cup player, who has bounced back from a mix of illness and injury in recent seasons and is now up to 60th on the world rankings, had been battering away at the door but just couldn't burst through.
In the campaigns that followed his 2004 win on home soil, the highly likeable Gallacher has recorded five top-three finishes while racking up a further 19 top-10s. Given that he's plundered well over €6m in career earnings, the popular Scot is hardly on the bones of his backside but, while the financial rewards steadily poured in, the ultimate rewards did not.
Every year, Gallacher has remained one of the best on the European circuit when it comes to hitting the ball and almost every year he has been one of the worst at dunting this dimpled, round bundle of trouble and strife into the hole. In the season of his breakthrough in 2004, Gallacher finished 18th on the tour's greens in regulation stats but a lowly 134th on the all-important putts-per-round table with an average count of 30.02.
Fast forward to 2012, and the figures remained equally as perplexing, with the former Scottish Amateur Strokeplay champion coming 11th on the greens in regulation order but 183rd on the putting standings with an average of some 31 jabs a round.
He certainly got the putter going in Dubai mind you and required just 24 putts during Thursday's opening round, 26 on the Friday and 24 again during his sizzling 62 on Saturday that thrust him into a commanding position.
Whether Gallacher has found some remedy to his long-standing woes on the greens, only time will tell but at least he now has a sizeable monkey off his back. Getting that second win under his belt will surely galvanise him and provide a solid platform upon which he can really build.
At 38, Gallacher still possesses plenty of potential that has yet to be fulfilled and he doesn't have to look too far for inspiration. His good pal and countryman Paul Lawrie bridged a European Tour title gap of nine years in 2011 when he won the Andalucia Masters and the Aberdonian is now playing the best golf of his career as he hurtles up his 40s.
"For someone in their 40s to have a year like he [Lawrie] had last year is probably a kick up the backside for all the Scots," admitted Gallacher, as he mulled over Lawrie's triumphant 2012 campaign that was illuminated by two more European Tour wins and a Ryder Cup appearance.
Lawrie's recent crusades have proved just what can be achieved in this game of wildly fluctuating fortunes. The 1999 Open champion has always maintained that his off-course work with his flourishing Foundation was one of the factors that helped him competitively on the course. He believes that keeping his name at the sharp end of the leaderboards is hugely important for what he is doing at the grassroots and Gallacher, who launched his own Foundation last year, will echo those sentiments. After his victory at the weekend, hopefully a new wave of inspired youngsters will be piling through the doors of his Kingsfield base.
With five Scots in the top 100 of the world rankings and two wins in the first six events of the new European Tour season, 2013 is shaping up nicely. It wasn't that long ago that Scottish successes at the top level seemed to be as rare as the discovery of a King of England in a city centre parking lot.
Let's enjoy the renaissance.
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