Hoey to tap latin spirit

By Brian Keogh

World Cup bound Michael Hoey confessed that he must be more like Angel Cabrera than Bernhard Langer as he led the Irish challenge in the euro 330,000 Kazakhstan Open.

The hotheaded Ulsterman opened with a two under par 70 to trail leader Leif Westerberg of Sweden by six shots in the richest event on the Challenge Tour.

With a just one top ten and seven missed cuts since his victory in Toulouse in May, Hoey was delighted to drive the ball well and maintain his composure on the course.

And he confessed that he must try and become laid back like Argentina's golfing stars if he is to make the most of his undoubted talent.

"I hit it very straight off the tee, which is a lot different to the last few years,' Hoey said after firing five birdies and three bogeys. If you don't hit the ball straight around there you have no chance with the rough.

"It is certainly good for me to be in this position. I have been out of it so many days after round one. I didn't lose the lot plot mentally. I said, just keep it together here. I had patience and I am really looking forward to the next few days.

"I'm need to be more like an Argentine than a German. Sometimes I lose the plot completely. I need to be relaxed and just let it happen."

While Colm Moriarty hit a level par 72 to remain on course to earn his tour card through the Challenge Tour rankings, it was a day to forget for Maybin, Dubliner Stephen Browne and Derry's Mick McGeady.

Set to partner Hoey in next week's World Cup qualifier in Aruba, Maybin three-putted from just five feet as he opened with a three over par 75 while Browne and McGeady are in grave danger of missing the cut after nightmare rounds of 77.

McGeady was two under after three holes but ran up nightmare quadruple bogey nine at his 17th hole, thinning a 50-yard bunker shot out of bounds and then overshooting the green with his fifth shot from a plugged lie.

Champion here two years ago, Browne incurred a bizarre one-stroke penalty on his open-ing hole, the par five 10th, when he marked his ball in the fairway and picked it up.

"Last week there was placing for the four rounds and in yesterday's Pro-Am there was placing because it was a scramble,' Browne explained. 'I don't know why, but it was just in my head. I picked the ball up without thinking.
"I still birdied the hole to make par and played lovely until I three putted the 14th. After that I never really gave myself a chance to getting it back to two or even three over. I kept hit-ting pull hooks. I wasn't too bad off the tee but my iron-play was terrible.'

Westerberg had six birdies before holing an 80-foot eagle putt at his 13th to lead by three shots from Scotland's Peter Whiteford and England's Paul Dwyer on eight under par.