Hoey lets fast start slip as local Carlsson hits the front
MICHAEL HOEY charged straight into contention during his opening nine holes at the Nordea Masters yesterday -- then got bogged down in sand on the way home.
Free at last from the flu bug which bothered him since last month's Spanish Open, Hoey went birdie hunting on a cold morning at Bro Hoff Slott near Stockholm.
Recapturing the form he'd shown in victory at April's Hassan II Trophy, the Ballymoney native scampered through the turn in four-under.
Yet his spree ended in a fairway bunker at six, where Hoey's attempted escape came back off the lip.
He made bogey five there and dropped another shot at eight after driving into deep rough.
Hoey's two-under-par 70 left him five off the searing pace set by Magnus Carlsson (31), a local favourite, whose only victory as a pro came at the 2007 Challenge of Ireland in Glasson.
Yet the Ulsterman's playing well enough to press for honours on Saturday.
The tournament ends a day early to give US Open hopefuls like Lee Westwood, Peter Hanson and Sergio Garcia a better chance to recover from jet lag in San Francisco next week.
Hanson was prominent in the pack chasing Carlsson after a 67. Westwood bedded-in a new set of irons nicely with his 68 and Garcia signalled intent with his 69.
Defending champion Alex Noren was in the same starting group as Westwood, but had to settle for a two-over 74 today.
Shane Lowry landed a birdie and an eagle in his first three holes but still had to scrap hard for his one-under par 71 after a double-bogey five at 16, the Clara man's seventh.
Simon Thornton (74), Gareth Maybin (74) and Damien McGrane (75) must battle to beat today's cut, which is projected at even-par.
Nordea Masters, Day 2
Sky Sports 2, 10.30
High hopes for Irish
THE tricolour will fly high above the Estonia Golf and Country Club this week as there is a strong contingent from Ireland competing in the European Mid-Amateur Championship.
Carlow will be represented by Pat Bevins, while Eamon Haugh (Castleroy), Killarney's James Ormonde and John Casidy (Galway Bay) also have high hopes of challenging strongly.