Michael Hoey captured last year’s Madeira Islands Open by two shots in a windswept week on the Portuguese island. Here, in an excerpt from The European Tour Yearbook 2012, we recap how the Northern Irishman claimed his second European Tour title in Madeira.
The phrase horses for courses could well have been designed to describe Michael Hoey’s success story for, two years after picking up his maiden European Tour title at the windswept Estoril Open de Portugal, the Northern Irishman once again conquered the breeze in Portugal to claim the Madeira Islands Open.
Having grown up on the majestic links courses of the Province and having honed his game to such an extent in the wind that he went on to win The Amateur Championship in 2001 and be part of the winning Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team later that year, Hoey was always going to start favourite in the blustery final round.
He began the day tied with Englishman Jamie Elson but used his experience to par the first seven holes before moving ahead with a birdie at the eighth. With another Englishman, Chris Gane, closing in at the top of the leaderboard, Hoey gave the left hander a glimmer of hope with a dropped shot at the 13th but recovered admirably with a birdie at the next to re-establish his superiority and he pushed on to close with a 71 for a ten under par total of 278 and a two shot winning margin over Elson and Gane.
Earlier in the final round another Englishman, Simon Wakefield, broke the Porto Santo Golfe course record with a magnificent 63 which, for a moment, threatened to be the Tour’s first official 59 before he double bogeyed the final hole.
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