Hoey hits the front in True Thailand ClassicFebruary, 2015
The Northern Irishman sets course record to take the lead
Michael Hoey played an exceptional course record opening round 64 to take the outright lead in the tournament opener at the True Thailand Classic.
After a round that included eight birdies, the Northern Irishman moved to the top of the leaderboard at -8 for the day.
Hoey holds a slender one shot lead ahead of American David Lipsky, Spaniard Carlos Pigem and Taiwan’s Chien-yao Hung, all currently -7 for the tournament.
A strong bogey-free round from the five-time winner on the European Tour puts him in a commanding position ahead of the weekends play.
“It has been a long time since I had a bogey-free card. To be bogey-free and have no fives on the card – and a course record – is a nice start. I’m swinging the club well so hopefully I can put three more good rounds together and see what happens,” said Hoey.
“I started to hit the ball well in the Middle East, but I was coming 50th or thereabouts each week. At least I was making cuts and making money, but throwing in a few double bogeys was ruining my scorecards. Hopefully this is the start of some more bogey-free stuff.
“This is a marathon. I’m just pleased to get something out of it, because I’ve been working hard for a long time and not getting the scores. This is really satisfying to get a good score and hopefully I can follow it up tomorrow – Friday 13th is going to be lucky for me!”
Elsewhere Dubai Desert Classic runner-up Alex Noren sits tied sixth in a group that includes Englishman Matt Ford, and Spain’s Miguel-Angel Jiménez, and Italian teenage sensation Renato Paratore.
Paratore has briefly caught Hoey, after an impressive five birdies in six holes, but slipped after bogeying the seventh and dropping two shots at the eighth to slip to five under.
Jiménez yet again showcased his dancing moves after holing out for eagle at the 474 yard 9th hole to the delight of the crowd.
Full leaderboard details can be found here.