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Gareth Maybin and Michael Hoey mean business

Northern Ireland duo Gareth Maybin and Michael Hoey have both made strong starts to the Nordea Masters European Tour event in Sweden.

Ballyclare man Maybin is just one off the lead after carding six birdies before dropping a shot to card a 67 and end on five under par.

Hoey, who like Maybin missed the cut at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, is placed on three under after a 69.

Ireland's Shane Lowry, who qualified for the US Open on Monday, came in with a one-under-par 71, the same mark as fellow Irishmen Simon Thornton and Kevin Phelan.

Jens Dantorp made full use of home advantage as he took a share of the first round lead.

While most eyes were on fellow Swede and world number two Henrik Stenson, who was playing the event for the first time since 2011, Malmo native Dantorp fired a 66 to share the lead with England's Eddie Pepperell.

"This is my home course so I try to play it as much as I can when I'm home," Dantorp said. "I can't really explain how good the support I got today was.

"All my friends, all my buddies were here and there was so much applause. That was one of the biggest keys to my success today; it definitely helped me.

"Peter Hanson has helped me a lot. It's great to go to the States to see him over the winter when you can't practice here. He's been a great mentor and has helped me through things, so I feel more comfortable in situations.

"This season has been solid. I've not quite had the results I would have wanted but it will come, I'm sure. It's all new to me so I'm taking it easy."

Stenson sat three shots behind following an opening 69 to leave him alongside Spanish veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez, whose recent good form has catapulted him to the brink of Ryder Cup qualification at the age of 50.

Scotsman Craig Lee is on four under alongside English duo Adam Gee and Paul Waring, Swede Johan Carlsson and Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello.

Belfast Telegraph

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