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Stars have the quality to go low at NI Open: Hoey

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Michael Hoey

Michael Hoey

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Michael Hoey

Tournament ambassador Michael Hoey believes there will be some low scores at this week's Northern Ireland Open.

The tournament begins a massive September for Galgorm Castle which, after hosting this week's event, culminates with the staging of the Irish Open at the end of the month.

This week also heralds the Challenge Tour's return to action after nearly two months off due to the coronavirus pandemic as some of the Tour's biggest names tee it up aiming to get their season back on course.

And five-time European Tour winner Hoey, one of four Northern Ireland players in the field this week, believes the scoring will be low given the quality of the stars in attendance.

"The ninth is now a par-four, it's a tough hole. They changed that, it's usually a par-five for the members," explained Hoey, who also admitted he had to take a job with courier service DHL over the break to make ends meet.

"The rough is growing and it's really wet, so you have to stay on the fairway. The third is one of the signature par-fours as well.

"But I think the scoring will be pretty low because it's not the longest, you just have to put it in position. I think (the winning score) will be 20 under. The guys are good and the greens are so pure, you can hole putts."

• NEWCASTLE'S Simon Thornton (Tulfarris) is two shots off the lead after day one of the Irish PGA Championship at Roganstown, Co Dublin after a one-under 70 in his first round.

Nathan Kernaghan (Massereene) and Richard Kilpatrick (Banbridge) are two over and Michael Alexander (Blackwood) is eight over, while Nicholas Grant (Knock) is 13 over.

Belfast Telegraph