Hoey just three behind Chawrasia in Delhi
S.S.P. Chawrasia of India. Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images

S.S.P. Chawrasia of India. Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images

Michael Hoey took full advantage of a tournament invitation when he carded a second successive 71 to provisionally share fifth place in the weather-delayed Hero Indian Open in Delhi.

Having lost his card last season, Hoey is chasing a sixth European Tour win that would solve all his problems and the 38-year-old is just three strokes behind defending champion SSP Chawrasia of India at DLF Golf and Country Club on two-under-par.

Chawrasia recorded a brilliant 67 to set the clubhouse target of five-under-par before the threat of lightning forced organiser to suspend play suspended for the second day in a row.

Play restarted at 5.15 pm following a two-and-a-half hour suspension, but none of the afternoon starters were able to complete their rounds before darkness.

The afternoon wave included Greystones' Paul Dunne, who opened with a level par 72 but was two over par after mixing two birdies with two bogeys and a double bogey in his first eight holes.

Chawrasia was six shots behind England's David Horsey when round one was completed earlier in the day, but five birdies in a flawless round propelled the local favourite to the top of the leader board.

Horsey sits just one shot back at four-under-par after a round of 74 but the favourite is clearly Chawrasia, who has a remarkable record in his National Open that has seen him add four runners-up finishes to last year's victory, with all three of his European Tour wins having come in India. 

SSP Chawrasia

“My hitting was really good, and some putts dropped, that’s why I made five under. This course is very tricky, and you’ve got to be straight all the time. The greens are tough. You need full concentration on every single shot.

“My putter was going good today. A great putt on five and on eight, they were tough putts. On five, it was from about 25 feet and on eight, it was around 20 feet.

“I’ve played many times in India, and I’m used to many of the courses, except for this week. This course is totally new. Maybe it’s home, and I have confidence. Last year I won, so I have lots of positivity. And now I’m leading so obviously I’m confident, and I’m trying to win this tournament again. Hopefully I’ll play good the next two days.

“I won’t change anything. I’ll keep the same strategy. Hit it straight and putt well. Very simple.”

David Horsey

“I played quite nicely. A little bit disappointed with the finish, I left a few putts out there on the back nine. But still, I’m only one behind just now, that’s not a bad position going into the weekend.

“Five is tough. It’s a long, island green. I hit it in the bunker and three-putted. Then I four-putted eight and missed a short one on nine, so I’ve wasted three or four shots there on the greens.

“I need to keep playing like I have been and just putt a bit better. It will be interesting to see how far behind I am come the end of round two. But, just more of the same really.”