Hoey claims fifth European Tour title in Moscow

Northern Irish golfer has four shots to spare at Russian Open

 Michael Hoey in action during the final round of the   M2M Russian Open at Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club  in Moscow. Photograph: Ian Walton/Getty Images

Michael Hoey in action during the final round of the M2M Russian Open at Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club in Moscow. Photograph: Ian Walton/Getty Images

Sun, Jul 28, 2013, 15:49

Michael Hoey claimed his fifth European title with a runaway four-shot victory at the Russian Open in Moscow on Sunday.

The 34-year-old from Ballymoney in Co Antrim was five shots clear going into the final round and carded a two-under 70 to finish on 16 under at Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club on the outskirts of the Russian capital.

In joint second place were France’s Alexandre Kaleka, who won the event last year, and England’s Matthew Nixon.

Hoey claims €166,660 for his win and will move into the top 80 of the Road to Dubai standings with earnings of €246,383 for the year.

Hoey said: “I have absolutely loved the golf course this week. The putting was the key for me. I have been working hard on that a lot recently and the improvement is really showing because I making a lot of birdies.

“That is the main difference at this level. You have to be able to make a lot of putts because the standard is so high these days that it usually comes down to who makes the most putts.

“It’s pretty amazing to think that I have won five European Tour titles.

“It is a great feeling to win and every time you do it you just want more and more. Hopefully I can get at least another one before the end of the season.

“It has given me a great boost. I am not the most consistent player in the world but when I get into these positions I usually do okay.”

Hoey dropped just one shot throughout the day, at the 12th, and his lead was cut to two by Kaleka and Dane JB Hansen.

But his birdie at the 17th steadied nerves and Kaleka (bogey) and Hansen (double bogey) both dropped strokes at the last to card 68s.

Nixon came home in 33 and signed for a three-under-par 69, finishing tied second with Kaleka a shot ahead of Hansen.

Hoey said: “I did feel the pressure a bit today because I wasn’t swinging it as freely as I had done yesterday but I got the job done in the end.

“Making my first birdie of the day on the seventh was a bit of a turning point because I had burned a few edges before that and you start to wonder if it is going to be your day.”