Friday, 19 March 2010
Omega Mission Hill World Cup Round Four  (Getty Images)
Omega Mission Hill World Cup Round Four (Getty Images)

Former British amateur champion Michael Hoey, joint second behind Retief Goosen at the Africa Open in January, claimed the clubhouse lead at the Madeira Islands Open BPI - Portugal at Porto Santo Golfe with a five under par 66.

The Northern Ireland 30 year old, who came through The European Tour Qualifying School at the sixth attempt last year, reached seven under for the tournament thanks largely to a four under 32 on the way out.

He was level with former Ryder Cup Swede Joakim Haeggman, who birdied two of his first three holes to reach seven under, and three in front of Ireland's Damien McGrane and Spaniard Carlos Rodiles.

Hoey birdied four of his first six holes to turn in 32, added another on the 452 yard second, but bogeyed two holes later. However a birdie at the eighth - his penultimate hole - ensured a three shot clubhouse lead.

“I have played well over both rounds, I think I just made a few more putts. I should have been six under after six holes. I didn’t actually have to putt that well because I was hitting the ball so close.

“I haven’t played too many Seve courses but I think this course is good. The greens are in fantastic condition for four year old greens and I think he has done well with the land that he was given. The condition of the grass is good. There is a bit of elevation but you can only work with the land that you are given. There is a bit of emphasis on the short game but overall it’s a decent test.”

McGrane, winner of last year's Volvo China Open, had shared the overnight lead with Haeggman after finishing his opening round by holing a bunker shot, but he double bogeyed the short fifth on his return to the Seve Ballesteros designed lay-out.

He did then birdie the long eighth and 12th, but in between came a bogey six on the tenthand he finished the day four under after a 72.

Rodiles established a record for the course when he fired a six under 65, but it did not last long as England's Richard Bland scored one better - and that after starting the tournament with a seven over 78. The Southampton golfer was back to level par as a result.

As an amateur Hoey finished 11th in the 2001 Scottish Open and he was a team-mate of Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell and Nick Dougherty in the Walker Cup victory in America later that year.

He turned professional after playing in The Masters Tournament in 2002, was a Challenge Tour graduate in 2005, but lost his card immediately - and that 11th place at Loch Lomond eight years ago remains his best finish on the main circuit.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1GOYA, EstanislaoARG18-6
2MACAULAY, CallumSCO18-5
T3MCGRANE, DamienIRL18-4
5WALL, AnthonyENG18-3
6HOEY, MichaelNIR18-2
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