Sunday 26 March 2017

Michael Hoey storms into last eight of Paul Lawrie Matchplay

Michael Hoey on the 5th green during round 2 of the Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Matchplay at Murcar Links Golf Course on July 31, 2015 in Aberdeen, Scotland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Michael Hoey on the 5th green during round 2 of the Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Matchplay at Murcar Links Golf Course on July 31, 2015 in Aberdeen, Scotland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Ireland's Michael Hoey cruised into the quarter-finals of the inaugural Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Matchplay on Saturday.

Hoey thrashed France's Gregory Havret 7&6 at Murcar Links and will face Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat in the last eight, Aphibarnrat beating South Africa's Thomas Aiken 4&3.

"I didn't expect that but I had six birdies again and it was good golf," said Hoey, who was six up at the turn after covering the front nine in 31. "I put Greg under a bit of pressure and he didn't have his best day.

"It feels like you're leading a tournament when you're ahead and you're just trying to keep the pressure on. The start is important, trying to get up early and keep the pressure on and I haven't been down in any match so far.

"The conditions suit me. I'm remembering some shots from a long time ago when I won the British Amateur (in 2001) and I'm trying to get used to playing little low, controlled shots in the wind."

Former Ryder Cup player David Howell also reached the quarter-finals with a hard-fought 2&1 win over Scotland's Chris Doak, who had knocked tournament host Paul Lawrie out in the second round.

Howell will face fellow Englishman Chris Wood in the quarter-finals, Wood being taken past the 14th hole for the first time this week before beating France's Julien Quesne by two holes.

Wood looked set for another early finish when he was four up with five to play, but bogeyed two of the next three holes and breathed a sigh of relief when Quesne missed from 10 feet for birdie on the 18th.

"Four up with five to go, middle of the fairway on 14 and I hit the worst shot of the week, six-iron into the hazard," Wood said. "Obviously made bogey there.

"He made a great three on 15, I short-sided myself on 16, two pars on 17 and all of a sudden we're playing the last.

"It was getting a bit too close for my liking, but glad to get through. I think it showed that I haven't played the last four holes since Wednesday."

Tyrrell Hatton made it three wins out of three for the English contingent by beating Peter Uihlein 5&4, while Sweden's Robert Karlsson defeated compatriot Johan Carlsson 4&3.

Hatton will face Marc Warren in the last eight after the Scot beat former Ryder Cup player Nicolas Colsaerts 3&1, with Karlsson up against Aberdeen native Richie Ramsay.

Ramsay, who set the course record of 62 at Murcar a month before winning the US Amateur title in 2006, holed from 12 feet for a winning birdie on the 18th after opponent Danish Morten Orum Madsen narrowly missed from twice the distance.

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