Sport Golf

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Maybin using Hoey as inspiration to break duck

Bernie McGuire

Gareth Maybin doesn't need reminding that he's the only Irishman with full membership currently competing on the European Tour yet to taste victory.

However, if the 31-year-old Ballyclare player needed any inspiration, he's trying to glean just that from the likes of Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Darren Clarke and Michael Hoey.

Hoey became the latest Irish sensation in capturing last week's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland.

Maybin is nearing the end of his third season on the main Tour and is still looking for that breakthrough success, having notched up three second-placed finishes.

A level-par 72 on day two of the Madrid Masters kept Maybin at three-under-par and eight strokes off the lead in windy conditions on the El Encin course.

England's Lee Slattery, who is yet to win in over 180 events, heads the field by one stroke after carding a 66 for an 11-under-par tally. Italy's Francesco Molinari (67) and Spaniard Eduardo de la Riva (67) share second place on 10-under-par, but world No 1 and defending champion Luke Donald bogeyed two of his closing three holes in a 70 to lie on six-under.

While Maybin looks more than likely to have to wait yet another week for his first success, he's currently more concerned with improving his 108th Race to Dubai standing

"I don't need reminding about being the only Irishman not to have won out here," he said, smiling. "It's certainly not from a lack of trying, but what I need at present is a few decent results over the handful of events I have left this year to wrap up my Tour card for next year.

"It's been a pretty poor season compared to the last two as I made it to Dubai on both previous years and this year I've struggled. But seeing guys like Graeme and Rory winning and then what Michael did last week was just fantastic.

"I knew he was very capable of winning a big event like the Dunhill and that does inspire you to win tournaments."

Paul McGinley (70) and Damien McGrane (72) finished on two-under-par to ensure all three Irish players will complete the four rounds.

Scot Elliot Saltman won his weight in Spanish ham after the 19-stone golfer aced the par-three third hole, but then missed the cut with a 72 for three-over-par. It was Saltman's third ace this year.

"I'm going to have enough ham for this Christmas and the next couple of Christmases," joked Saltman. "I'll be having a lot of ham sandwiches."

Madrid Masters,

Live, Sky Sports 1, 11.0

Irish Independent

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