It’s not every week on the Challenge Tour that a player arrives at a tournament in a Lamborghini, but Michael Hoey did exactly that as he roared into the car park of the Galgorm Castle Golf Club for the Northern Ireland Open Challenge presented by Clannah and XJET, writes the European Challenge Tour.
Hoey, who recently won his fifth European Tour title at the M2M Russian Open, is this week’s star attraction in his native Northern Ireland as he returns to his Challenge Tour roots to help further promote the game in his homeland.
He certainly turned a few heads as he drove through the gates at Galgorm in his Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera LP570-4, a piece of machinery that can reach 62mph in 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 202 miles per hour.
“I have never driven anything like that before. I get it for the week and it is brilliant,” smiled Hoey, who is looking in the best physical shape of his career after embarking on a gluten-free diet on the advice of his nutritionist.
“There is obviously a bit of a peacock element in driving a car like that which anyone who know me will know makes me a wee bit uncomfortable but it is just an amazing car to drive.
“Everywhere you go people are looking at you though, or even taking pictures of you driving around. I have seen loads of people driving and taking pictures as I pass them!
“The company that owns the cars – Supercar-Experiences – have always sponsored events here at Galgorm and they thought it would give them a bit of extra publicity to give me the car for the week.
“It is pure adrenaline. I obviously had quite a few new friends the other day when I got the car and I must have taken ten people out for a spin and the adrenaline rush you get from driving it is unbelievable.”
Hoey, and the rest of the field, will be looking for their own adrenaline injections on the golf course this week as they do battle for the lion’s share of the €170,000 prize fund.
Among the most notable names at Galgorm Castle will be European Tour winner Nick Dougherty and former Ryder Cup player Oliver Wilson, while Galgorm’s own Gareth Shaw will hope to replicate the form that saw him finish fifth at the Irish Open in June around his home track.