Hoey claims second tour success

Michael Hoey celebrates victory in Madeira

LAST month, Michael Hoey, revealed his ambition to move out of the Euro Tour‘comfort zone’ and challenge for more titles.
“A top 20 finish earns you a nice sum and that’s great compared to the Challenge Tour,” he said.
“It’s a lot of money. In one of the big events, 30th can be a good result because the standard is so high. But you want to try and move on, to finish higher and push yourself a bit more.”


Yesterday,  the 32-year-old got his wish. In testing conditions, Hoey held firm to win the Madeira Islands Open , carding a one under par 71 to hold off English duo Jamie Elson and Chris Gane.
“It was just tough,” said Hoey who jokingly added that nerves forced him to make two ‘bathroom’ stops at the 11th and 13th.
“I had to dig really deep, especially after I hit one in the rocks on 13, and I thought ‘that’s it now, I’ve thrown this thing away completely’.
“It’s a crazy game. But I somehow managed to make a good swing on the third shot, and holed the putt for bogey, which was huge, it kept me in it. Then I birdied the next, and just parred in after that. The main thing was my putting, I made virtually all the six to seven footers on the way in.
“It’s weird, because I think everyone was struggling a bit. If someone had really gone out there and shot a good score, then they could have got to maybe 11 or 12 under, or maybe even better, but nobody did that. Sometimes that happens on the final day and it’s quite an ugly win, it was kind of quite ugly today. So I’m lucky to come out on top.”
Michael, who paid tribute to the influence of his caddy, Owen Craig, is making a habit of winning in Portugal. His previous tour success came at the Estoril Open de Portugal in 2009.
“I guess I knew I had a good chance this week. The last two years I finished sixth both times, and I knew I was putting better and chipping better this year,” he added.
“That’s what I did well, I just chipped and putted better than the last two years. It was also windy when I won the Estoril Open at Oitavos Dunes, and I guess growing up in those conditions is an advantage.”

The win, which gives Michael a 12 month tour exemption, created a small piece of European Tour history. With Darren Clarke winning seven days ago, it represents the first time two different players from Northern Ireland have won in consecutive weeks.
The victory has moved Michael up to 54 in the Race to Dubai and he is looking forward to this week’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth with renewed ambition.
“This time last year I was sick and withdrew from Wentworth during the first round,” he said.
“I was one under after 16 but I was tired, I wasn’t feeling good at all and I took six weeks off which I needed.
“And now, the difference a year makes, it’s unbelievable. I guess I just had to be patient.”


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