Hoey pays the penalty at Galgorm Castle

Dermot McElroy

Dermot McElroy

Michael Hoey bowed out of the Northern Ireland Open Challenge after a disappointing second round 76 at Galgorm Castle.
The tournament ambassador effectively put an end to his chances by calling a two-shot penalty on himself at his second hole of the day, the 11th.
“The ball was sitting in a clump. It might have moved down, it might have oscillated,” said Michael.

“I was 70 per cent sure it might have moved. It was hard to say really but I decided to go against myself.”

Hoey, who began the day at one under par, discussed the matter with his playing partners and finally got confirmation of the two shot penalty as he lined up a birdie chance at the 18th.
“I knew the cut would be level or one under. I started being really aggressive on the front nine with my putting. Some of them lipped out, but I putted terrible. I was going for everything and hitting them too hard.
“It’s disappointing. I just didn’t really have any oomph this week,” he added.
“Maybe it was just the fact that I had to do a lot of stuff this week, or maybe I’m just not 100 per cent.
“If I could have holed one putt to get some momentum, I definitely think I could have made the cut. But when you don’t hole anything and then you start to go for everything, and your pace is off – and mine was off for the last two days, then you are going to be miles away.”
Young Dutchman, Daan Huizing leads the way after posting a second round five under 66 to move to 11 under and into a three stroke advantage over England’s Ross McGowan and Sweden’s Jens Danthorp.
In testing blustery conditions, Huizing dropped just one shot on the first hole before producing a classy display of ball-striking to finish with three birdies in his last four holes to move clear of the field.KLM Open - Day Four
“The conditions were quite tough but I actually enjoy playing with a breeze like that because it helps me to focus and allows you to shape the ball and try to use the wind to your advantage in some ways,” said Huizing.
In the absence of Hoey and Alan Dunbar who also departed yesterday, the home challenge is lead by Michael McGeady, Jonathan Caldwell, Neill O’Briain and Ballymena amateur Dermot McElroy who are all on five under par.
McElroy played a lot of amateur golf with Huizing and was not shocked to see the 22 year old Dutchman flying high at the top of the leaderboard.
“The last two events I played with Daan he won them so I am not surprised to see his name up there,” said McElroy.
“He won the Lytham Trophy and the St Andrews Links Trophy by miles and is just a quality player.
“I played okay today – I hit the ball off the tee a lot better but I haven’t played as well as I usually can around here. Maybe I am just a little burnt out as I have played a lot of golf this summer, but hopefully I can make a move over the weekend.”
Caldwell and McGeady carded respective second round scores of 69 and 72 and will be looking to move into contention with a strong third round. Playing in the morning, Caldwell actually got to seven under at one stage, but dropped two shots over his closing holes.
“It’s been a fairly poor season so far,” said the Clandeboye professional.

“I have been putting poorly but I seem to have found something this week.”

McGeady who opened with a six under par 65 is also looking for something better on Saturday.
“It wasn’t a bad score as such in the conditions but I have to say that I am a bit disappointed to finish five-five. I struggled a bit on the greens. I had two three putts in the last five holes and then I didn’t manage to get up and down for birdie on the last so it was disappointing to finish like that,” said the Derry golfer.
“Looking at it now, it definitely should have been at least two shots better but it is only day two and I am still in with a chance. I just need to try and make a move tomorrow and put in a good score because I am still in striking distance if I can pick up a few shots tomorrow.”

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