Vic­tory tees Hoey up for Ry­der de­but

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Front Page -

NORTH­ERN IRE­LAND’S Michael Hoey put him­self back into the hunt for a Ry­der Cup de­but with a three-stroke vic­tory at the Has­san Tro­phy in Morocco to­day.

Nine be­hind af­ter his open­ing 74, the 33-year-old grabbed his fourth Euro­pean Tour vic­tory – and sec­ond of this cup cam­paign – with two su­perb clos­ing rounds of 65.

For­mer Bri­tish ama­teur cham­pion Hoey took the £207,737 (¤248,389) first prize with a 17-un­der-par to­tal of 271 and when asked about the Ry­der Cup said: “I’ve not re­ally been think­ing about it, but I’m ob­vi­ously in con­tention.”

He beat com­pa­triot Rory Mcil­roy at the Dun­hill Links Cham­pi­onship last Oc­to­ber and it was an­other Ir­ish­man, Damien Mcgrane, whom he pushed into sec­ond place this time.

Mcgrane shared the lead with a round to play along with Mat­teo Manassero.

The 18-year-old Ital­ian had to win to have a chance of qual­i­fy­ing for the Mas­ters via the world’s top 50, but fell away to joint sixth with a 72.

The 40-year-old Mcgrane led by three af­ter start­ing with back-to­back birdies.

He then found him­self two be­hind when Hoey fol­lowed a two on the short sec­ond with four suc­ces­sive birdies from the fifth.

It was nip and tuck again when he bo­geyed the long 10th and Mcgrane made four, but three more birdies in four holes from the short 14th set­tled it. Not that his 65 was the round of the day. It was not even close, in fact. Welsh­man Jamie Don­ald­son, yet to win in nearly 250 tour events, shot a course-record 61 to share third place with fel­low coun­try­man Phillip Price and Eng­land’s Robert Coles.

Don­ald­son cov­ered the back nine first in 28, only one off the tour record, with two ea­gles and four birdies, then started for home with an­other birdie to be nine un­der for his first 10 holes.

The cir­cuit’s first 59 was a pos­si­bil­ity at that point, but he found the water on the long fifth.

Af­ter a six there, though, he added a fur­ther birdie on the sev­enth and at the 394-yard ninth sank his nine-iron ap­proach for a third ea­gle.

Af­ter equalling his low­est ever round Don­ald­son said: “I for­got about the end re­sult and con­cen­trated on one shot at a time. It was a great day.”

As it was for Hoey, who had not had a top-10 fin­ish since his vic­tory at St An­drews nearly six months ago.

“I’ve worked hard with Jamie Gough. My swing is more con­sis­tent and Phil Kenyon has been help­ing me with my putting,” he said.

Manassero’s dis­ap­point­ing final round was good news for Ernie Els in Florida.

It meant the South African, joint third with a round to go in the Arnold Palmer In­vi­ta­tional, could make the world’s top 50 and qual­ify for the Mas­ters by fin­ish­ing in third rather than sec­ond.

Pho­to­graph: Ross Kin­naird/getty Images

North­ern Ire­land’s Michael Hoey in ac­tion dur­ing the final round of the Trophee du Has­san II Golf at Golf du Palais Royal in Agadir, Morocco. Hoey won by three shots to put him­self back in con­tention for Ry­der Cup se­lec­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.