Thursday 22 March 2018

Hoey suffers final-hole nightmare

MICHAEL HOEY had a horror finish to his first round at the Nordea Masters near Stockholm, dropping 11 shot in the final six holes.

After stumbling to double-bogey sevens on 13 and 15, Belfast man Hoey bogeyed the par-three 17th before running up a cataclysmic 10 at the last on his way to a disastrous 11-over par 83.

The only other Irishman in the field, Meath's Damien McGrane had four birdies and four bogeys in his level-par 72.

A familiar name, Robert Karlsson, shared the lead on five-under with fellow Swede Alexander Noren and Jaco Van Zyl.

Yet it wasn't Ryder Cup star Karlsson, but a 22-year-old amateur of the same name, who is playing in only his second European Tour event in three years, having missed the cut in 2009's SAS Masters in Malmo.

The 'real' Robert Karlsson (41) was two strokes behind his namesake after shooting 69.

The amateur Karlsson, who only secured entry to the tournament at the start of the week, enjoyed his opening round.

"That was a great start to the tournament," he said.

"Ever since I qualified on Monday I've been trying to really enjoy this experience. It's hard not to smile."

Fellow Swede Noren admitted to a few anxieties playing on home soil.

"I was really nervous going into today in front of all your family and friends as they want to see if you can play or if you're out there because you're lucky," Noren said.

"It was great, the first few holes were unbelievable. It felt so much easier than it has ever felt, then it got really tough on the front nine."

American Bubba Watson finished with a one-over 71 after carding four birdies, a bogey and a double-bogey in his last 10 holes. Compatriot Dustin Johnson, the pre-tournament favourite after his joint second place at the British Open on Sunday, could only manage a two-over-par 73.

Nordea Masters,

Live, Sky Sports 3, 10.0

Irish Independent

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