Hoey in contention at 54-hole Portugal Masters

Michael Hoey in action in the second round of the Portugal Masters. Picture Fran Caffrey / © www.golffile.ie

Michael Hoey has won five times on tour since 2009 and he's in with a chance of making it six after picking up four birdies in the weather suspended second round of the Portugal Masters in Vilamoura.

The Ulsterman, who has won every year since 2011, is tied for third on 10 under par, albeit eight strokes behind clubhouse leader Alexander Levy at the Oceanico Victoria Course

The Frenchman added a 10 under 61 to his opening 63 to get to 18 under with overnight leader Nicolas Colsaerts three behind on 15 under with two holes of his second round to complete on Saturday.

Levy was in one of only two groups to complete the second round after thunderstorms and heavy rain severely disrupted play, forcing organisers to reduce the tournament to 54 holes.

Colsaerts was four under through 16 holes just 24 hours after coming close to carding the first 59 in European Tour history.

The majority of players will now have to complete – and, for half the field, start – their second rounds on Saturday morning, and Levy faces a strange situation where he will now not play until the third and final round on Sunday.

“I will go to the gym, work a little bit and rest in my room tomorrow,” said Levy, who birdied the last from 20 feet in near darkness. “Today was a very long day. I woke up at 6.30 and I’m finishing in the dark. Three times we went from the players’ lounge to the practice range.

“But I managed to play really good golf and I’m very happy with my game. I have been working on my iron shots a lot with my coach the past few weeks. And I think if you can hit it long, you have a big advantage on this golf course.”

Pádraig Harrington waits to hit. Picture: Fran Caffrey / © www.golffile.ie

How many Irish players will make the cut remains to be seen with Hoey, who is yet to make a bogey, clearly well placed to challenge with four holes of his second round remaining.
Paul McGinley is the next best, tied for 30th after his openin 67 and scheduled to begin his second round at 9.10am.

Pádraig Harrington had just the 18th to complete when play was suspended on Thursday evening and he birdied it on the resumption of play on Friday to card a one over 72.

He then began his second round with a birdie from 18 feet at the par-four 10th and picked up further birdies at the 14th and 15th.

He was still three under for the day and two under for the tourmanent with five holes of his second to complete, leaving him just on the right side of the projected two under par cut mark.
Darren Clarke was level for the day and a shot outside the mark on one under with five holes to go.

Kevin Phelan, Shane Lowry and Gareth Maybin did not get to start and after opening with 71s they will have to shoot in the 60s to make the final round.

It looks bleak for the other three Irishmen in the field with Damien McGrane and Peter Lawrie both on four over with just nine holes of their second rounds to complete.

Simon Thornton did not tee it up but will start his day on five over knowing he may need to fire a 64 to qualify.

The former Royal County Down assistant shot two 65s on the Oceanico Victoria course last year, when he finished tied for eighth.