Shevchenko & Gallacher team up at Alfred Dunhill Links event

By Brian McLauchlinBBC Scotland at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
Andriy Shevchenko and Stephen Gallacher
Retired footballer Andriy Shevchenko played with professional golfer Stephen Gallacher at Carnoustie

The opportunity for personalities from the world of business, music and sport to mix and play with some of the world's top golfers is what makes the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship unique on the European Tour.

For the amateurs there is little pressure, other than the glaring eyes of television and the golfing public.

For the 'pros' it is very different. A purse worth in excess of £3m is up for grabs along with a huge number of Ryder Cup points. Should the eventual winner on Sunday be a European, it will go a long way towards securing a place in Darren Clarke's team to face USA at Hazeltine in 12 months' time.

One of the most colourful pairings this week is Stephen Gallacher, who played in last year's successful European Ryder Cup team at Gleneagles, and former Chelsea and AC Milan footballer Andriy Shevchenko, who is a scratch golfer and takes the game very seriously.

"I try to play as much as possible," the former Ukraine striker told BBC Scotland. "Possibly four or five times a week.

"I'm living in Wentworth and play a little there and my kids are also interested in golf. It's a great game."

Stephen Gallacher
Gallacher has shot rounds of 67 and 72 so far in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Gallacher says having such a good player alongside him is a help.

"He is a top player." the Scot said. "He is sort of one of those enviable guys that is good at everything.

"It's just tough when you play courses like [Carnoustie] and there are no strokes. To shoot a couple under [as a team] we're happy with that and hopefully we can go low tomorrow."

Gallacher made a remarkable par at the 18th at Carnoustie after his drive finished just a few inches away from a ditch. Shevchenko says this was a lesson learned that you should never give up.

"You always have to believe, it's never finished, like the 18th today, unbelievable!" said the 2003 Champions League winner.

With Gallacher a huge Celtic fan, some of the chat during their walks around the course eventually led to football. But there was a surprise for the Scot.

Darren Clarke
Clarke will captain Europe in next year's Ryder Cup

"I didn't know he had scored for Milan in a 2-1 win over Celtic at Parkhead. We were friends until then!" he said jokingly.

Gallacher has had a poor season so far by his own high standards but feels his game is slowly getting back into shape.

"It's better than it's been for a while," he explained. "Still got the odd bad shot but we all hit them. It's just how you deal with it."

And the Scot, who lifted the Dunhill trophy in 2004, is reasonably positioned for a good finish this weekend on five under par - six shots off leaders Jimmy Millen and Anthony Wall.

On Saturday, Gallacher plays Kingsbarns, the easiest of the three courses.

"When you see the scores at Kingsbarns and St Andrews if you are playing well you can shoot six or seven under," he added.

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