Hoey trending nicely

Michael Hoey during the Volvo China Open at Genzon Golf Club. Picture by Paul Lakatos/OneAsia

Michael Hoey has five European Tour wins but it appears to be only a matter of time before the World No 205 makes it six.

The 35-year old appears to have found some of the consistency he's been seeking since he captured his maiden European Tour win in the Estoril Open de Portugal in 2009.

He's missed just one cut this year and after a third round 69 moved him up to tied 11th behind Alexander Levy in the Volvo China Open, he's trending in the right direciton as the tour prepares for the meat of the season on European soil.

As he explained to the Irish Independent in Durban in January: "My new year's resolution is not to change my swing in 2014. I'd gone into last year with the same intention, but I didn't understand it and therefore was trying a lot of stuff on the range. I'd a different swing thought on almost every shot and that's ridiculous.

"I've got to the stage now where I always go the range and practice the same things. It's probably the first time I have understood what I've done.

"If I don't change the swing this year, I'm putting really well so I've got a chance to be consistent. I'd love to have more top-10s and top-20s than wins because, when you're consistent, you actually know where you are."

Hoey has one Top-10 from nine starts this year — a runner up finish behind Ross Fisher in the Tshwane Open — but that solitary missed cut (in the Dimension Data Pro-Am on the Sunshine Tour) bodes well for the rest of the year.

While he's 10 shots behind Levy, who shot a 69 to lead by three on 16 under par from Alvaro Quiros, Hoey is just three shots behind sixth placed Simon Dyson on six under par.

Levy is looking to win for the first time on the European Tour but he will have to hold off six time winner Quiros and three time winner Miko Ilonen (four shots off the pace) at the Genzon Golf Club in Shenzhen.

England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Spain’s Adrain Otaegui are tied for fourth place on 11 under, while Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter carded a third round 67 to move to six under for the tournament.

World No 3 Henrik Stenson is two shots behind Poulter, while US PGA Champion Jason Dufner is a further shot back.

“I have to try and play good golf tomorrow and take some pleasure from the golf course, because it’s a very nice course to play," Levy said. "I want to continue to play like I have for the first three rounds and to enjoy the moment. I will be nervous, but because you’re nervous doesn’t mean you can’t play well.”

Quiros said: “Tomorrow depends on a few things and not just me. If Alex plays really well then we might not be able to catch him but it is good to know that I have a chance to be in the top positions because it is a long time since I have won a tournament and you have to consider that too.

"It has been two and a half years since I won so I have not had those feeling for a long time. We will see if I can get them back tomorrow.”

As for Ilonen, the Finn is not giving up just yet.

“I know what I need to do," he said. "I don’t need to see what the other guys are doing because I can’t have any effect on their game. I need to be four or five under on the front nine to give myself a chance.”

Volvo China Open 2014, after 54 holes

200 A Levy (Fra), 

203 A Quiros (Esp), 

204 M Ilonen (Fin), 

205 T Fleetwood (Eng), A Otaegui (Esp), 

207 S Dyson (Eng), 

208 A Sullivan (Eng), 

209 C Doak (Sco), F Molinari (Ita), L Hao-Tong (Chn), 

210 J Quesne (Fra), I Poulter (Eng), M Hoey (Nir), H Otto (RSA), R Derksen (Ned), 

211 T Pilkadaris (Aus), R Cabrera-Bello (Esp), R Jacquelin (Fra), R Ramsay (Sco), N Elvira (Esp), 

212 S Jamieson (Sco), E Grillo (Arg), P Meesawat (Tha), M Madsen (Den), O Fisher (Eng), S Strange (Aus), H Stenson (Swe), P Il-Hwan (Kor), M Brown (Nzl), 

213 M Kieffer (Ger), L Wen-Chong (Chn), P Larrazábal (Esp), L Slattery (Eng), G Bourdy (Fra), J Dufner (USA), G Havret (Fra), J Lima (Por), J Kruger (RSA), K Ji-Man (Kor), M Griffin (Aus), 

214 M Kawamura (Jpn), M Crespi (Ita), T Hatton (Eng), D Horsey (Eng), A Hansen (Den), G Bhullar (Ind), 

215 M Siem (Ger), E De La Riva (Esp), T Lewis (Eng), R Bland (Eng), D Willett (Eng), 

216 W Ashun (Chn), S Kjeldsen (Den), D Drysdale (Sco), 

217 J Campillo (Esp), F Aguilar (Chi), O Zheng (Chn), E Pepperell (Eng), B Rumford (Aus), 

218 R Green (Aus), R Wattel (Fra), R Santos (Por), S Manley (Wal), 

219 W Kang-Chun (Chn), E Molinari (Ita), S Benson (Eng), 

221 S Khan (Eng), A Wall (Eng).