Russell Knox has 'good chance' at Masters - Stephen Gallacher

Russell Knox
Russell Knox will make his second consecutive Masters appearance at Augusta National
Masters 2017 on the BBC
Venue: Augusta NationalDates:6 April to 9 April
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Stephen Gallacher believes fellow Scot Russell Knox has "as good a chance as any" in the Augusta National field to win the Masters.

Knox missed the cut on his debut last year, but Gallacher says the 31-year-old's game is suited to the course.

"He's beaten these guys in an event in China with the same field," Gallacher said of the world number 23.

"He won't be scared of them and it wouldn't surprise me if he's in the mix on Sunday afternoon."

Gallacher played the Masters in 2014, finishing 34th, and believes it is important for players to deal with the occasion as well as the challenges of the course.

Knox tees off at 15:12 BST with America's Rickie Fowler and Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, although Gallacher says the heavy rain that interrupted Wednesday's practice could trouble his compatriot.

"Maybe the conditions, being a bit soft, might hamper him a wee bit," Gallacher told BBC Scotland.

"He's not the longest player, but he's a fantastic iron player. Form goes out the window when you play Augusta.

"It's a golf course that's a bit more generous than you think off the tee and it's down to the putting, who's the fittest, who's mentally strong at the end. There are a lot of components to Augusta."

'It's going to be a British player'

World number one Dustin Johnson is among the favourites to win the green jacket but Gallacher believes another player from the UK could emulate Danny Willetts' victory last year.

"It's going to be a British player [who wins]," Gallacher said.

"I'd like to see Rory [McIlroy] win it, that would be him having won all four of the majors, he deserves that.

"I've got a slight inkling for Tommy Fleetwood, Paul Casey, guys who hit it high and draw the ball, because it's soft, you need a bit more length now to be hitting that one club shorter than the rest of the guys and that makes a huge difference.

"The percentages of getting it closer to the pin are greater and that's what Augusta is about, giving yourself makeable putts, rather than having to two-putt from 40 feet all the time."

Stephen Gallacher
Gallacher at the 2014 Masters

Gallacher will watch events at Augusta with interest, before competing at the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco next week.

Having altered his swing technique during the winter, the 42-year-old is confident he can have a productive campaign.

"I go to Morocco on Monday, then straight to China after that for two weeks, then it's back to the PGA at Wentworth," he added.

"I've been through a good swing change and I'm feeling good about my game. I'm really looking forward to getting out.

"I'm hitting the ball better than I've ever hit it and I feel less stress in my body. I'm feeling great and I can't wait to get going."

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