Masters 2015: Stephen Gallacher highlights need for strategy

Stephen Gallacher is the world number 38
Stephen Gallacher is the world number 38
Masters 2015
Venue: Augusta, Georgia Dates: 9-12 April
Coverage: Live radio coverage on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra. TV highlights of rounds one and two followed by BBC Two live coverage of Saturday and Sunday. Follow live updates of every round on the BBC Sport website from 9-12 April. Read full details here

Stephen Gallacher knows a polished short game is vital to improve on his only previous Masters appearance.

The world number 38 finished joint-34th in his debut at Augusta in 2014.

"If you get out of position in these greens you're going to struggle," Gallacher told BBC Sport.

"It's a very strategic course and you've got to plot your way round it. You can be aggressive at times and then there's times you don't and pars are good."

After an impressive start at the 2014 Masters, the Bathgate golfer went into his third round with serious hopes of being only the fourth player to win the major on his debut, but shot 81 and the dream was over.

"I just want to have four solid rounds," said the 40-year-old.

"I had three good ones last year and if I can build on last year I'll be delighted. If I finish in front of Rory [McIlroy] I'll be even more delighted."

19-year-old amateur Bradley Neil (left) practised with world number one Rory McIlroy
Teenage amateur Bradley Neil (left) practised with world number one Rory McIlroy

Gallacher is one of three Scots at Augusta for the 2015 Masters. Joining him are 2014 amateur champion Bradley Neil - a 19-year-old from Blairgowrie - and 1988 winner Sandy Lyle.

Sweden's Jonas Blixt and America's Kevin Streelman are the players teeing off with Gallacher at 13:51 BST on Thursday.

"I can't wait to get started," Gallacher added. "There's sort of a mystique that surrounds the tournament. Things have happened here - bizarre things - that don't happen anywhere else.

"It's one of these ones that you just can't wait to get going and hopefully I'll have a solid four rounds.

"The course is playing a lot longer this year. It's a bit softer and there's a few more extra yards on a few of the holes but apart from that it's just perfect condition."

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