Tuesday 17 October 2017

Hoey hoping for licence to thrill in Agadir

Michael Hoey in action during the Pro-Am of the Trophee du Hassan II Golf at Golf du Palais Royal
Michael Hoey in action during the Pro-Am of the Trophee du Hassan II Golf at Golf du Palais Royal

William S Callahan

REIGNING champion Michael Hoey compares playing at the world's most exclusive golf course at the Royal Palace in Agadir to performing on the set at a James Bond movie.

Hoey (34) certainly hopes he'll recover his licence to thrill in today's first round of the King Hassan II Trophy as he launches his defence of the precious gold and jewel encrusted dagger he won in true 007-style last spring.

The Ballymoney man hasn't played to his full potential this season, but the way he suddenly struck top form after a shaky first round 74 here in 2012 showed what a deadly finisher Hoey can be when stirred.

"It feels like a James Bond setting. You can see the palace from some of the holes and you try to get a peek at what's going on, but security is always pretty tight," said Hoey of the Royal Palace course.

Hoey rallied with spectacular back-to-back 65s to beat Damien McGrane by three last year, but this tight Robert Trent Jones classic also suits the Kells favourite to a tee.

Across the ocean in Humble, Texas, Shane Lowry shares their ambition as he tees it up at the Shell Houston Open.

As six more players who stand between World No 69 Lowry and that elite top-50 which guarantees a Masters invitation, are in Houston, the Clara man clearly must win on Sunday or at next week's Valero Texas Open to earn his first invite to Augusta.

King Hassan II Trophy,

Live, Sky Sports 1, 11.0

Houston Open,

Live, Sky Sports 3, 8.0

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