Hoey Strengthens Ryder Cup Bid
It was the first victory on the Euro Tour
AGADIR, MOROCCO | Finally, Northern Ireland
is represented on the European Tour in 2012,
as Michael Hoey played the weekend 65-65 to
win the Trophée Hassan II on Sunday.
this season by a Northern Irishman, this one
a 33-year-old from Ballymoney. The Alfred
Dunhill Links Championship winner, who
trailed Ireland’s Damien McGrane by nine after
an opening 74, was a brilliant 14 under for the
weekend at Golf du Palais Royal as he finished
with a 17-under par total.
Hoey’s three-shot victory lifts him inside the
top 15 on The Race to Dubai and puts him back
in the hunt for a Ryder Cup debut later this
year. It was his fourth European Tour
victory – and second in the Ryder Cup quali-
fying campaign – to take the
€250,000 first prize.
Asked about the Ryder Cup,
the former British Amateur
champion said: “I’ve not
really been thinking about
it, but I’m obviously in
He beat compa-
triot Rory McIlroy
for the Alfred
Dunhill Links title
at St Andrews last
October and it was another
Irishman, McGrane, whom he
pushed into second place this
McGrane shared the lead
As for 40-year-old McGrane, he led by three
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, but fell
away to joint sixth with a 72.
after starting with back-to-back birdies, but
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
Not that his 65 was the round of the day. It
the long 10th and McGrane made four. But
three more birdies in four holes from the short
14th settled it.
was not even close, in fact. Welshman Jamie
Donaldson, yet to win in nearly 250 European
Tour starts, 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,
The European Tour’s first 59 was a possibility at
only one off the European Tour record, with two
eagles and four birdies, then started for home with
another birdie to be 9 under for his first 10 holes.
that point, but he found the water on the
After a six there, though, he add-
ed a further birdie on the seventh
and at the 394 yard ninth sank his
9-iron approach for a third eagle.
After equalling his lowest ever
round, Donaldson said: “I forgot
about the end result and con-
centrated on one shot at a time.
It was a great day.”
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