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Michael Hoey's slip from £233k to £38,500 prize sum

By David Grant

Published 29/06/2015

Michael Hoey's hopes of a lucrative BMW International Open win after three superb opening rounds, disintegrated on a disappointing back nine in Munich yesterday.

The Belfast player had moved into a tie for the lead with four birdies in five holes before the turn.

However, bogies at 13 and 14 left Hoey with a two-under-par 70 as he finished in joint seventh on 13 under, four behind winner Pablo Larrazabal who picked up the £233,000 top prize, leaving Hoey with a £38,500 seventh place consolation.

Former Open champion Darren Clarke carded a 69 and ended the tournament in joint 20th on nine under for £15,500. Clarke dropped a shot at the sixth but picked up birdies at nine, 13, 15 and 16.

Hoey, a five-time tour winner, started the day five off the pace but birdies at five, six, eight and nine put him in the hunt for a sixth title. His challenge ended with the slip-ups on the back nine but he still secured a top-10 finish.

Shane Lowry (73) was seven under and Damien McGrane (72) a further shot back. Paul Lawrie (70) finished on four under while Kevin Phelan (72) was well back on two over.

Larrazabal attributed his second BMW title to a flying start as he carded a final-day 66 to see off the challenge of Henrik Stenson.

The Spaniard reached the turn in a five-under-par 31 and added a crucial sixth birdie on the 16th to finish 17 under, one shot ahead of the Swede.

Stenson fired himself right into the mix with an eagle 11 as well as five birdies in a round of 65, but ultimately had to settle for second place as Larrazabal's nerve held over the closing holes.

The Barcelona-born 32-year-old said: "I knew that I was in a good position, two groups ahead, and I knew that I had to start very fast. I had to start with a few birdies in the first holes and I started very well.

"I think I was five under for the front nine and hitting the ball great, as well as I have hit it all year, and my putting was awesome. I made a lot of great putts.

"Coming in, it's tough coming in. You have a lot of holes with a lot of trouble, so I knew I needed to put myself in a good position to make birdies. I made birdie on 16, a great shot.

"I had memories from the past - I lost the tournament over there back in 2010, going 19 under par with three to play, and I lost it over there, so I had that in my mind, 'Put it on the green and try to make the putt'. If not, four is a great score in 16."

Stenson's birdie at 18 briefly left him in a tie for the lead, but a three for Larrazabal on the 16th proved decisive. Asked if he was aware on the course how close the Swede had been to him, he replied: "I knew, I knew exactly.

"Henrik is not German but he has a lot of German friends, and we could hear the roar. That kind of roar is for [Martin] Kaymer or for one of the best in the world, and I knew that Henrik was coming fast. But he birdied the last and I birdied 16."

It was Larrazabal's second win in Munich and fourth on the European tour, and it came two months before he is to marry girlfriend Gala Alten.

He said: "In two months I will be a married man, so this is awesome. Being with her again around Munich and around this beautiful golf course - this is a place that has given us a lot of great memories and being married to her is a dream come true."

Stenson's finished one shot clear of England's Chris Paisley, whose 15-under-par four-round total of 273 earned him third place in his own right, although he might have claimed a share of second with a long putt on the 18th which came up just short.

Cormac Sharvin claimed the English Open Stroke Play Championship at Hollinwell on Saturday, making the 22-year-old from Ardglass, Co Down the first Irish player since Rory McIlroy in 2006 to lift the famous Brabazon Trophy.

Clodagh Jones of Roscrea GC clinched a last hole victory over Julie McCarthy of Forrest Little to win the Ulster Girls' Fred Daly Trophy played on the Annesley Course at Royal County Down with 54 girls competing and backed by Hughes Insurance.

In the Plate match, the host club's Clare Calvert overcame Sarah Lacey (Castleknock GC) to win the McLeod Cup.

Belfast Telegraph

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