Hoey just two off the pace in Russia despite 'silly mistakes'
MICHAEL Hoey can feel the competitive juices flowing again, but he's still not satisfied as he prepares for an assault on the M2M Russian Open title.
The 34-year-old Ulsterman has endured a frustrating period in recent months. His best finish of the year was 25th in the Volvo Golf Champions event in Durban last January and he has missed seven cuts in his last 10 tournaments.
But at Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club near Moscow, Hoey's game is regaining its sharpness.
A five-under-par 67 yesterday left him joint second alongside England's Matthew Baldwin, China's No 1 Liang Wen-chong, and Alexandre Kaleka of France.
The four are all on seven-under- par for the tournament, two shots adrift of leader Rikard Karlberg, who filed a 68 to set the half-way mark at nine-under.
For Hoey, his performance over the first two days has been a mixed bag. He berated himself for letting shots slip through unforced errors, but eight birdies and three bogeys in his 67 suggest the graph of his form overall reflects a welcome upward trend.
"It's been a bit up and down, to be honest," said Hoey. "The good stuff is really good, but then I am making quite a lot of silly mistakes which is costing me a lot of shots.
"You just need to look at the scores. I have made 15 birdies in the first two rounds here and I am only seven-under. If I can get rid of those silly mistakes then I still have a great chance to win."
Kerry's David Higgins played steadily for 71 to lie inside the top 20 at two-under-par for the tournament, while Gareth Shaw from Ballyliffin made the cut on the mark at four-over. Alan Dunbar missed the cut, as did Damien McGrane.
McGrane tried valiantly to redress the balance after a horrible 80 in his opening round, but a level-par 72 yesterday was too little, too late.