Hoey just misses out on history but fires into title hunt
MICHAEL HOEY blasted into contention for his sixth European Tour title with a lifetime-best seven successive birdies on the back nine of his second-round 65 at the Tshwane Open.
Hoey shared fifth on 10-under, three shy of leader Ross Fisher, after his magnificent birdie blitz, though the Ballymoney man knew he had come within a hair's breadth of a place in Tour history at Copperleaf in South Africa.
His run began at 10 and he went tantalisingly close to playing every hole on the back nine in birdie to equal Europe's record low of 27.
"I had a good putt for birdie on 17 but the greens had become a little bumpy. My ball bounced but still only just lipped out," he said.
"I was careless on 18 and didn't repair a pitch mark, which meant I lipped out again on my birdie putt.
"When I reached seven, I tried not to think of how far I could go," added the Ulsterman.
Tour rookie Kevin Phelan (23) carded a second-round 69 to leave him tied 15th on seven-under, while Shane Lowry shared 28th on five-under after a one-under 71.
Damien McGrane missed the cut on even-par after his 70. Gareth Maybin was two back following a 71, while Peter Lawrie missed his eighth straight cut this season.
Elsewhere, Irish international Chloe Ryan moved into the quarter-finals of the Spanish Ladies Open Amateur Championship in Sotogrande.
Ryan crushed Spaniard Belen Amorus 8&7 before overcoming France's Lauralie Migneaux 2&1 to set up a last-eight clash with France's Anyssia Herbaut, while Paula Grant lost in round two to Ann Van Dam of the Netherlands.
In the men's championship at the La Reserva course, there is no Irish interest remaining.
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