It’s not often that missing the cut by six shots can be declared a triumph but Michael Hoey achieved that feat in the Nordea Masters in Stockholm when he followed his hellish opening 83 with a four under 68.
The Ulsterman endured a horrific finish to his first round when he followed double bogey sevens at the 13th and 15th with a bogey at the 17th and a sextuple bogey 10 at the 18th.
Many would have feigned injury after such an implosion but Hoey showed something special on Friday when he began his day tied for 144th place on 11 over par and attacked the back nine that he’s covered in 48 blows less than 24 hours earlier.
Sandwich birdies at the 13th, 14th and 15th between a bunch of pars, he covered the same last six in 14 strokes fewer and then added two birdies and just one bogey on the front nine to produce the joint sixth best round of the day.
The 32-year old Ballymoney man now heads to next week’s Irish Open (he was seventh in Killarney last year) with something positive to draw on as he attempts to build on last May’s Madeira Islands Open victory.
At the business end of the tournament, Sweden’s Alex Noren shot a six under par 66 to lead by three shots from India’s Shiv Kipur (66) with American Bubba Watson (67) and South African Jaco Van Zyl (71) tied for third on six under.
Kells’ Damien McGrane, who is a perilous 111th in the Race to Dubai standings, finished the day nine strokes off the pace and tied for 20th after adding a 70 to his opening 72.