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McDowell and Hoey left playing catch-up after struggles

 

By Adam McKendry

It was a difficult day for golfers from Northern Ireland as both Graeme McDowell and Michael Hoey suffered frustrating starts to their respective tournaments.

On the PGA Tour, at Harbour Town Golf Links in South Carolina, McDowell struggled to a one-over round of 72.

The Portrush native, who won this tournament in 2013 and lists it as one of his favourites on the calendar, started on the back nine and had a bad start as he double-bogeyed the par-three 14th.

He earned those shots back with birdies at 16 and 17, before a further birdie at the first cancelled out a dropped shot on the 18th. But a bogey at the sixth consigned him to the one-over round, already leaving him nine shots off the early lead held by Bud Cauley.

Irishman Shane Lowry fared much better, carding seven birdies and two bogeys on his way to a five-under-par 66.

At the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco, on the European Tour, Hoey suffered an even worse round as he had a poor back nine, finishing on three over for the day.

The Belfast man was two under at the turn after birdies on the fourth, fifth and eighth cancelled out a bogey on the third. But things unravelled on the back nine as Hoey double-bogeyed the par-five 12th, and then compounded that with an ugly triple-bogey eight on the closing hole to undo all the good work of his opening nine.

It means the 38-year old is six shots off the lead, shared by four golfers, and will need to make a significant move today in order to avoid missing the cut in Rabat.

Belfast Telegraph

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