Hoey and Hurley feel the burn of Q-School grind
 Gary Hurley watches his tee shot down the par-five third at PGA Catalunya Resort as his South African caddie Joseph looks on

Gary Hurley watches his tee shot down the par-five third at PGA Catalunya Resort as his South African caddie Joseph looks on

Getting the best out of your game no matter who poorly you are playing is the secret of golf but it’s even more apposite at the Final Stage of the European Tour Qualifying School which is why Michael Hoey was pleased with his three under 67 at PGA Catalunya Resort yesterday,

The 37 year old — a five-time European Tour winner — might be on five under par and one shot outside the top 25 and ties who will win card after six gruelling rounds. But after a year that’s seen him miss 20 of 27 cuts, remaining on track to win back his golden ticket is more than enough reason to be cheerful.

“You could go out and play well and not score,” sniffed Hoey, who battled a blocked nose to make six birdies and three bogeys on the shorter Tour Course in yesterday’s second round. “So it’s quite satisfying to play some sloppy stuff and score well. 

“My routines were good and mentally I was good because I am quite relaxed. And I have to be like that the next few days because we are only a quarter of the way there. Anyway, I think I am doing better than I did here eight years ago when I got through, so it’s good.”

Hoey “stiffed” three shots during his round to set up tap in birdies before getting up and down for his sixth of the day at the par-five 18th after ripping a rescue 250 yards through the back of the green.

He knows it’s too early to be looking at the leaderboard, which shows that England’s Robert Coles and Richard McEvoy are tied for the lead on 10 under par after respecting rounds of 68 and 69 on the tougher Stadium Course, one ahead of Germany’s Christian Braeunig.

With the top 70 and ties making the cut after tomorrow’s fourth round, West Waterford’s Gary Hurley and Mount Juliet’s Kevin Phelan are tied for 107th, three shots outside the mark on one over after contrasting fortunes on the Stadium Course.

Phelan made an early, two-putt birdie at the third but holed nothing after that and three bogeys added up to a two over 74 that leaves him needing a low round soon.

"I hit a lot of good shots but didn’t make any birdies," said the Waterford native. "My one birdie was a two putt. I had loads of chances."

His bogey six at the easy 15th, where he slightly pushed his tee shot and finished up agains a tree and had to drop well back, summed up his day. "I a really good third shot up to the bunker and just missed an up  and down. It was a strange day, by there’s a long way to go."

Hurley played well pretty much all day, finally finding his putting touch as he made four birdies and droppedjust one shot in a 69 that took the sting out of his four over 74 on the tricky but short Tour Course on Saturday.

“I figured something out last night and this morning and started hitting the ball online again, which is important for holing putts!” said Hurley, who got a drill from putting coach Donal Scott and quickly realised what he’d been doing wrong. 

“It still feels pretty uncomfortable but I am hitting the ball online, which is good,” added Hurley, who covered the back nine in 35 to turn in one under, then made a five footer after a superb nine iron to the second and kept his patience after shaving the hole with birdie putts at the third, fourth and fifth by draining a 10 footer at the sixth.

“I know I have got to stay patent, there are still two rounds to go before the cut and four rounds to go in the tournament.” said Hurley, who rose early to watch Conor McGregor win his UFC world title bout. 

“It was good to watch. I was more nervous watching that that I was teeing off yesterday.”

Rosapenna’s Ruaidhri McGee is tied 129th in three over after a two over 72 on the Tour Course and knows he must go low on the Stadium track today if he’s to make the 72-hole cut on Tuesday.

"No good," he said when asked about his day.

And his year?

"No good. Hopefully I can fix it over the next few days. If I can make the cut first I will guarantee me everything on Challenge Tour next year but I should be fine anyway after finish in the top 100."

A good round today and anything is still possible.

European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage, PGA Catalunya Resort, Girona, Spain (Stadium Course Par 72; Tour Course, par 70)

132 R McEvoy  (Eng) 63 69; R Coles (Eng) 64 68; 

133 A Rai (Eng) 66 67; C Braeunig   (Ger) 66 67; 

134 Z Lombard  (RSA) 67 67; A Chesters  (Eng) 68 66; S Heisele (Ger) 68 66; E Molinari  (Ita) 66 68; R McGowan  (Eng) 68 66; J Suri (USA) 64 70; 

135 D Van Driel  (Ned) 66 69; M Orrin (Eng) 67 68; B Eccles (Aus) 67 68; E Kofstad (Nor) 67 68; B Hemstock (Eng) 67 68; S Tiley (Eng) 64 71; S Manley (Wal) 72 63; L Canter (Eng) 69 66; 

136 E Dubois (Fra) 71 65; J Winther (Den) 68 68; J Fahrbring (Swe) 68 68; C Griffiths (Eng) 68 68; M Jonzon (Swe) 63 73; M Lafeber (Ned) 65 71; B Neil (Sco) 64 72; J Lara (Esp) 67 69; 

137 J Allan  (Eng) 67 70; N Johansson (Swe) 70 67; D Law (Sco) 66 71; R Gangjee (Ind) 68 69; J Harrison (Eng) 70 67; P Imondi (USA) 68 69; Michael Hoey  (Nir) 70 67; D Huizing (Ned) 73 64; 

138 J Garcia Pinto (Esp) 70 68; O Rozner  (Fra) 66 72; O Lengden (Swe) 73 65; O Wilson (Eng) 68 70; E Van Rooyen (RSA) 71 67; R McCarthy (Aus) 74 64; M Foster (Eng) 67 71; R Echenique (Arg) 69 69; D Fox (Aus) 72 66; J Blaauw  (RSA) 71 67; G Mulroy (RSA) 67 71; R Kellett (Sco) 72 66; A Connelly (USA) 71 67; E Pepperell (Eng) 69 69; B Etchart  (Esp) 66 72; J Parry (Eng) 71 67; T Lewis (Eng) 73 65; T Chuayprakong (Tha) 64 74; S Webster (Eng) 64 74; 

139 C Ford (Eng) 76 63; A Saddier (Fra) 73 66; S Forsström (Swe) 72 67; E Loar (USA) 72 67; R Sciot-Siegrist  (Fra) 67 72; M Godoy (Arg) 65 74; M Bremner (RSA) 70 69; G Porteous (Eng) 73 66; S Khan (Eng) 72 67; B Stow (Eng) 69 70; T Van Der Walt (RSA) 71 68; E Di Nitto  (Ita) 70 69; G King (Eng) 73 66; S Henry  (Sco) 64 75; J Guerrier  (Fra) 69 70; R Johnson (Swe) 72 67; C Sordet  (Fra) 67 72;

140 M Ford (Eng) 72 68; L Gagli  (Ita) 71 69; N Kimsey (Eng) 70 70; K Horne (RSA) 68 72; R Evans (Eng) 75 65; M Nixon (Eng) 67 73; M Lampert (Ger) 66 74; R Gonzalez (Arg) 67 73; T Linard (Fra) 73 67; P Eriksson (Swe) 71 69; A Karlsson  (Swe) 71 69; 

141 C Carstensen  (Ger) 69 72; M Lundberg (Swe) 71 70; B Easton (RSA) 73 68; J Van Der Vaart (Ned) 71 70; D Burmester (RSA) 73 68; J Ahlers (RSA) 70 71; M Tullo (Chi) 72 69; B Evans  (Eng) 70 71; D Dixon (Eng) 74 67; R Santos  (Por) 73 68; R Dinwiddie  (Eng) 72 69; J Heath  (Eng) 70 71; M Delpodio  (Ita) 73 68; 

142 R Saxton (Ned) 73 69; O Farr (Wal) 73 69; M Laier (Ger) 74 68; L De Jager  (RSA) 72 70; Y Yang (Kor) 72 70; R Van Der Spuy (RSA) 71 71; C Koepka (USA) 66 76; A Quiros  (Esp) 68 74; J Hansen  (Den) 67 75; P Maddy (Eng) 75 67; A Maestroni  (Ita) 68 74; M Madsen  (Den) 74 68; 

143 R Finch  (Eng) 73 70; P Kopp (Ger) 75 68; P Widegren  (Swe) 72 71; Gary Hurley (Irl) 74 69; T Pulkkanen  (Fin) 77 66; S Soderberg (Swe) 72 71; J Hugo  (RSA) 72 71; O Stark (Swe) 69 74; R Davies (Wal) 77 66; V Riu  (Fra) 69 74; J Girrbach (Sui) 70 73; J Lando Casanova  (Fra) 69 74; M Wiegele  (Aut) 69 74; U Van Den Berg  (RSA) 68 75; Kevin Phelan (Irl) 69 74

144 G Axell (Swe) 76 68; J Dantorp (Swe) 69 75; E Goya (Arg) 77 67; B Pettersson (Swe) 76 68; P Whiteford (Sco) 76 68; J Rutherford (Eng) 72 72; P Oriol (Esp) 72 72; 

145 C Bouniol (Fra) 72 73; F Marty (Fra) 71 74; G Forrest  (Sco) 74 71; D Vancsik (Arg) 70 75; B Virto  (Esp) 78 67; M Simonsen  (Den) 75 70; Ruaidhri McGee (Irl) 73 72; A Velasco (Esp) 70 75; M Fenasse (Fra) 73 72; 

146 C Lee (Sco) 72 74; M Crespi  (Ita) 75 71; D Gavins (Eng) 71 75; S Surry (Eng) 71 75; O Henningsson  (Swe) 74 72; C Del Moral (Esp) 74 72; C Bull (Eng) 72 74; R Kakko  (Fin) 72 74; C Berardo (Fra) 73 73; P Martin Benavides (Esp) 75 71

147 M Perry (Nzl) 76 71; K Ferrie (Eng) 72 75;

148 M Brown (Nzl) 72 76; B Rumford (Aus) 73 75;

149 B Munson (USA) 75 74;

151 J Zunic (Aus) 80 71;

152 M Brier (Aut) 75 77; 

153 M Vibe-Hastrup  (Den) 75 78; 

DQ J Edfors (Swe) DQ