Michael Hoey in total control in Russia
Ulsterman shot a seven-under-par 65 to take five-shot lead into final round near Moscow
Michael Hoey of Northern Ireland leads by five at Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club. Photograph: Ian Walton/Getty Images
Michael Hoey had mixed emotions yesterday after his 67 left him two shots off the Russian Open lead, lamenting after 15 birdies in 36 holes that he should have been better off than two-shots adrift of leader Rikard Karlberg.
The public pep talk worked, it seems, because this afternoon he sits five shots ahead of the Swede after a seven-under-par 65 that saw him card six birdies, one eagle and just the one bogey at Tsaleevo Golf Club near Moscow.
Karlberg could only shoot a level par 72 and was joined in second by England’s Matthew Nixon (68).
South Africa’s James Kingston and France’s Alexandre Kaleka are on eight under, while JB Hansen, Mikko Korhonen and James Morrison were in a three-way tie for sixth place on seven-under-par.
Hoey has four European Tour victories to his name, the last coming in the Trophee Hassan II in 2012, but the 34-year-old has not finished better than 25th on European Tour so far this season and missed seven of his last 10 cuts coming into the event.
Hoey admitted that, to some extent, things just fell for him today.
“It was one of those days where everything went my way for the most part,” Hoey told europeantour.com. “I played really well and was swinging the club well, but I got a few breaks here and there that really helped the score.
“I holed a 70-foot putt on the ninth for example — that’s was probably the biggest break I had out there. You just don’t really expect to hole those ones so that was a bit of a bonus. I am making a lot of putts this week and that is always the difference at this level. It’s all about putting.”
However, Hoey knows anything could still happen on the final day, and he is not yet contemplating his fifth European Tour win.
He said: “Obviously I have a good lead but you just can’t take it for granted. Things went my way today but it might be someone else’s day tomorrow. I am just going to go out there and try to enjoy it. I have been in positions to win before and finished it off and that will help a bit, but you still need to hit the shots and hole the putts.”