British Amateur champion Michael Hoey has started his Masters preparations early, by escaping the Irish winter.

This week, the 22-year ­old Belfast boy packed his bags and jetted out to Florida's Orlando area for two weeks of intensive practice.

Hoey plans to spend the winter getting experience under his belt in professional events in Australia before joining the paid ranks after the US Masters in April.

Victory in this year's British Amateur championship at Prestwick guaranteed Hoey an invitation to the first Major of the season at Augusta next year, proving he remains an amateur.

Despite the attention of several leading sports management groups, the Ulsterman has still to make up his mind about who will handle his affairs once he turns professional.