After a birdie-birdie finish at DLF Golf and Country Club on the outskirts of New Delhi, the Bathgate man claimed the crown in 2019, landing his fourth DP World Tour triumph in the process.
The event, which was used by Hero MotoCorp to become one of the main supporters of the circuit, hasn’t taken place since then due to the Covid pandemic, meaning Gallacher has had an extended spell as the champion.
“I feel great,” said the 48-year-old of finally being back in India, where his success four years ago was made even sweeter by the fact it was his first with son Jack caddying for him. “It’s 1,400-odd days since I was last here, so there’s been a lot of hardship that’s happened since then, but it’s great to be here and get the event played.”
Gallacher’s victory on the Gary Player-designed course in the Gurugram district of the Indian capital was also his first since making a successful defence of the Dubai Desert Classic title in 2014.
“There are plenty of great memories,” he admitted. “It’s a course that’s not really changed very much. It’s in amazing condition, same as the last time we were here, and I’ve got some great memories coming down the stretch. Hopefully I can replicate them this week.”
Gallacher, who lost his full tour card at the end of last season, is being joined on this occasion by Bob MacIntyre, who is making his debut in the tournament, as well as David Law, Euan Walker and Sandy Scott. According to the defending champion, a tough test lies in wait.
“It’s just one of those courses you’ve got to be patient on, it’s not one you can force a score on,” observed Gallacher. “I had a poor hole on seven and then I think I had five or six birdies from then on in.
“Anything can happen. You’ve got to play with your head around here. Par is a good score. There’s some tough, tough holes and few you can attack, but it’s just a really tough track and one of the best we play all year, to be honest.”
Thorbjorn Olesen, last week’s winner in Thailand, spearheads a strong Danish contingent that also includes Nicolai Hojgaard and Thomas Bjorn.
“The weather is perfect, 30 degrees, not too hot, and it’s got the makings of a great week,” added Gallacher before turning his attention back to the course. “I think the bunkers are brilliant. Aesthetically, they look fantastic, but you’ve got to try and stay out of them as they’re deep.
“It’s an unbelievable golf course to play visually. It’s stunning, the bunkers make it look just so good and you’ve also got the big swales. It’s just a good track and I think it looks brilliant.”
Two-time DP World Tour winner Shubhankar Sharma spearheads a home contingent that also includes 2016 and 2017 champion S.S.P. Chawrasia, as well as rising star Manu Gandas, a six-time winner TATA Steel Professional Golf Tour of India Order of Merit in 2022.