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Happy feet Hoey gets back on right track

For the past two months Michael Hoey has spent some five minutes before every competitive round taping special orthotic adhesive to both feet.

Despite some initial discomfort, the Ballymoney golfer is now slowly finding relief in taking a shorter route around the golf course, as evidenced by his four-under-par 67 on the opening day of the Castello Masters.

Hoey birdied five of his closing 10 holes to maintain the consistency in his game which has returned since he started seeing Dr Roger Hawkes, a sports medicine specialist in Litchfield, England.

"I've always had bad feet, but having the orthotic adhesive makes a big difference and means I've no aches or sore feet after my round," said Hoey.

"I've been seeing Roger since Switzerland and he's very good, as he also works with the Chelsea football team. If the course is very flat, it's not so much of an issue, but with a hilly course like Cran in Switzerland, my feet get very sore.

"I will keep using the adhesive till we figure it out. Considering we are on our feet for about seven hours a day here, you need to be able to walk properly. But I do need to go back and see him."

Hoey will start the second round three strokes behind the leading pair of Scotland's Paul Lawrie and Argentina's Ricardo Gonzalez, who head the field after seven-under-par 64s.

Former British Open champion Lawrie had just 23 putts in his round.

England's David Horsey, who played in the same Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup side as Rory McIlroy, is next best at six-under-par.

Four players, Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Gonnet, Scotland's Gary Orr and the England duo of Simon Khan and former Irish Open winner Richard Finch are at five-under-par.


Bizarrely, Orr is competing for the first time since May's Wales Open, having been sidelined by a long-standing back injury.

This also will be his last event before next year's Abu Dhabi Championship, with the double Tour-winning Scot revealing that if he were to win in Spain, he would have to turn down an appearance in next fortnight's WGC-HSBC Championship in Shanghai.

"There's no way I could play as I am scheduled for further treatment on my back on Tuesday," said Orr. "So, this will be my last event this year as I just want to get my back sorted."

Ballyclare's Gareth Maybin gave new caddy Darren Reynolds the thumbs-up after recording a three-under-par 68.

"Darren was great and you can see his experience from working with such great players as Paul McGinley," said Maybin. Shane Lowry recorded a two-under-par 69, while the remaining four Irish were disappointing.

Peter Lawrie signed for a 72, Paul McGinley a 74, Simon Thornton -- who double-bogeyed his opening two holes -- a 75 and Damien McGrane dropped six shots in a four-hole stretch mid-round en route to a 76.

Castello Masters,

Live, Sky Sports 3, 11.0

Irish Independent