Michael Hoey has picked up in Perth where he left off in Victoria to take a share of 5th place heading into day two of the ISPS Handa World Super 6 in Western Australia.
With Chris Selfridge carrying his bag, the Northern Irishman, who finished in a share of 17th on 10-under par last week, fired six birdies in a four-under par 68 in the early hours of this morning.
Hoey, who turned 40 yesterday, is no stranger to the Lake Kerrinyup layout having found himself just three shots off the 54-hole lead in 2013 where he eventually finished inside the top-20.
It’s been almost six years since the man from Ballymoney has collected some silverwear but perhaps life in the winner’s enclosure will start again after 40 for the five-time European Tour winner?
Unfortunately, the news wasn’t so good for Ireland’s two other participants, Paul Dunne and Gavin Moynihan as the pair both struggled on day one. Dunne signed for an uneventful one-over par 73 that comprised of three bogeys and two birdies that puts him in a lowly share of 77th heading into day two.
Moynihan’s round, although a little more exciting, saw the Mount Juliet professional double-bogey his 16th when at even-par to sign for a two-over 74. With four birdies on the round, the Dubliner will be hoping to cut out the mistakes tomorrow to move out of his current share of 111thplace and into the weekend’s thinking.
This week,156 players will compete over the first 36 holes with the top-65 and ties progressing to the weekend. Following round three, the field size is cut to 24 players – with a sudden-death play-off taking place if required to reach that number.
The fourth and final round will see players battle head-to-head in a six-hole match play knockout format. The players will eventually be whittled down to the final two before the winner is crowned in the final.
Given Moynihan and Dunne’s joint exploits in winning the Golf Sixes back at Centurion club last May, the pair will be looking to turn their fortunes around tomorrow to try to force their way into the Sunday format.
At the top, Kristoffer Reitan and Miguel Tabuena lead the way after carding opening rounds of 65 on day one.
Out in the first group of the day off the tenth, Tabuena made eight birdies in his opening nine holes to tie a European Tour record and added another gain on the first before two bogeys moved him to seven under at Lake Karrinyup Country Club.
Reitan came through all three stages of the Qualifying School as an amateur last year and the Norwegian carded eight birdies and a bogey to join Tabuena at the summit in just his fifth event since turning professional.
Both men carded their lowest rounds on the European Tour to sit two shots ahead of New Zealander Benjamin Campbell and England’s Richard McEvoy.
Tabuena’s incredible start had him in a handsome lead and an approach to four feet on the 18th ensured his nine holes were just one shot away from a European Tour record for both score and score to par.
Another gain from eight feet on the first had him five shots ahead but he found sand off the tee on the par three fifth and a flyer out of the rough on the ninth brought a second bogey.
“A win? Oh my gosh, it would mean everything,” he said. “To play full time on the European Tour is a goal for me.”
Reitan birdied the first, fifth and seventh with a bogey on the sixth to turn in 34 and then made gains on the 11th, 13th and 14th. A 15-footer on the 16th had him within one of the lead and when he holed from 20 feet on the last, he was in a share of top spot.
“I’m really happy with that round,” he said. “Played some good golf tee to green and holed some putts as well, so I’m really happy about the round.
“I’m just trying to learn every week. Even if I play really badly, I’m trying to learn something and, if I play well, it might be because I’ve learned something. So, I’m just trying to learn as much as I can from every tournament and try to unlock my best golf.”
Porsche European Open champion McEvoy birdied the 11th, 14th and 15th but gave two shots back on the 16th and 17th before making further gains on the 18th, first, third and seventh.
Campbell turned in level par 36 from the tenth with three birdies and three bogeys but then came roaring home with gains on the first, second, sixth, seventh and ninth.
India’s S S P Chawrasia was playing alongside Tabuena and the four-time European Tour winner was bogey-free with gains on the tenth, 14th, second and sixth to get to four under.
New Zealander Ryan Fox was also bogey-free with birdies on the third, fourth, seventh and 15thto move alongside the group including Hoey at minus-four.
Swedish Qualifying School graduate Anton Karlsson also had six birdies and two bogeys, with Australian pair Nick Flanagan and Brad Kennedy completing the group three shots off the lead.
Frenchman Grégory Bourdy was at three under alongside Australians Daniel Gale, Matthew Griffin, Matt Jager and Deyen Lawson.
There was then a large group at two under including last week’s winner David Law, Belgian Thomas Pieters and in-form Australian Jason Scrivener.