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Michael Hoey adds a 68 to historic opening round in Italy

Northern Irishman Michael Hoey is one behind the leader at the Rocco Forte Open - adding a second round 68 to his thrilling opener.

Hoey came close to recording the first 59 in European Tour history on Thursday before settling for a ten under par 61, his own best ever tournament score.

His second round on Friday morning featured six birdies and three bogeys and left him on 13 under, one behind Spaniard Alvaro Quiros who shot a second round 64.

On Thursday, Hoey fired eight birdies in his first 11 holes at Verdura Golf Club and after a run of four straight pars, another birdie on the eighth left him needing to play his final two holes - having started from the 11th - in three under for the elusive 59.

A superb approach to the par-five ninth left Hoey with a 20-foot putt for eagle, but the 38-year-old left his attempt short and did the same with a birdie putt on the last.

"I left it in the jaws, both putts, but I was nervous," admitted Hoey, who has won five times on the European Tour but lost his card last year. "It was hard to hit them past the hole but it's nice to be nervous as I haven't been nervous on a course for a while and it's exciting to have such a good score. My best ever score by two shots, no bogeys, it doesn't get much better.

"We've had two kids (since 2013) and it's been tiring. I haven't been as healthy as I wanted, so hopefully I can get going."

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