Sport Golf

Friday 23 February 2018

Siem's hot streak leaves Hoey in need of a miracle

Nigel Whittaker

MICHAEL HOEY needs a mini-miracle to retain his title at the Trophee Hassan II this weekend but the Ballymoney native at least lived to fight another day at the Golf du Palais Royal in Agadir.

Hoey is the only Irish golfer to make the halfway cut.

He closed with two superlative 65s to clinch victory in Morocco last March and win the precious gold and bejeweled champion's dagger but will need something even more spectacular to bridge the 11-stroke gap to runaway leader Marcel Siem.

Siem swept to 12-under with a second-round 68, making seven birdies and three bogeys.

As he did 12 months ago, Hoey opened with a 74 on Thursday but had to be satisfied with a 69 in benign conditions yesterday.

Waterville's David Higgins missed the cut by one on four-over after a 75.

Peter Lawrie (74) and Gareth Maybin (70) were two beyond the pale, while Damien McGrane followed-up Thursday's wind-tossed 80 with a 74.

threat

England's David Horsey is the greatest threat to Siem's hopes of a victory, which would clinch the German a Masters invite.

A winner here in 2011, Horsey followed up his 68 in driving winds early Thursday with a 67 to share second on nine-under with Finn Mikko Ilonen.

Pablo Larrazabal lay one further back after a superb 64, eight better than his opening 72.

Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal was so furious with his mis-hit approach to 18, he hurled his club down the fairway. A bogey there left the Spaniard two outside the cut.

Tantrum of the day was thrown by Swede Johan Edfors, who followed two errant shots on 18 by snapping both clubs. He made double-bogey there and went home.

Trophee Hassan II,

Live, Sky Sports 1, 1.0

Irish Independent

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