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Dunhill Links Championship: Hoey keeps up chase for second tour win

Michael Hoey has maintained his charge at the top of the Dunhill Links Championship leaderboard.

The Belfast man remains in a share of the lead after shooting a second successive six-under-par 66 yesterday.

Hoey, who tackled the Kingsbarns course, shares top spot with another former Walker Cup player Tommy Fleetwood — both sitting pretty on 12 under.

Seeking his second European Tour win of the year this weekend, Hoey is confident he can stay out in front.

“I've always enjoyed this pro-am format,” the 32-year-old said.

“A couple of years ago I was tied for the lead after two rounds. It's slow, but it really takes your mind off stuff between shots.”

Ulstermen feature prominently on the leaderboard with Graeme McDowell on 10 under and Rory McIlroy seven under after they both fired 67s at Carnoustie.

New professional Paul Cutler (73) is level while Darren Clarke (74) is three over after also playing at Carnoustie. Former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, who lifted the Claret Jug at St Andrews in 2010, is one off the lead after adding a 67 at Carnoustie to his opening 66 at Kingsbarns.

That means the 28-year-old now has two rounds left over the Old Course to try to claim a second victory at the Home of Golf.

Meanwhile, England's Tommy Fleetwood is on target to complete one of the most unlikely doubles in golf after claiming a share of the lead.

Fleetwood won the Kazakhstan Open earlier this month, with the first prize of £55,000 taking him top of the European Challenge Tour rankings and securing his place on the main tour for 2012.

But the 20-year-old from Southport can win almost 10 times that amount with victory at St Andrews tomorrow after storming into contention with a superb 63 at Kingsbarns.

Fleetwood, a former English Amateur champion, said: “It feels pretty good. Just to get the invite and the experience of playing here is great. I didn't hit it very well yesterday but I holed good putts on the first three or four holes today and didn't really look back.

“The last couple of weeks I've had no pressure on me really. I know where I'm playing next year, which is great, and it's definitely given me confidence because there was a bit of thought of ‘Can I win?' because I had been in there so many times.

“I finally got it done, so let's see if I can do it on the bigger stage now.”

Belfast Telegraph


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