GOLF: Michael Hoey seven shots off lead in South Africa

Michael Hoey is seven shots off the lead in South Africa.

Michael Hoey is seven shots off the lead in South Africa.

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Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey produced three birdies on the final four holes to avoid missing the cut at the halfway stage in the second round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

Hoey, who is playing under a sponsor’s invite at the event in South Africa, is four under par after shooting a 71 on Friday.

The 37-year-old made a strong start to the competition on Thursday, but Hoey appeared in trouble as he dropped five shots in six holes on day two.

However, the Belfast man fought back with a birdie flurry at the end to record a one-under-par round and lies seven shots behind leader Brandon Stone from South Africa.

Leader Stone said: “I woke up this morning and the back was feeling a little bit sore, and then on the range it didn’t really feel too great either.

“During the course of the day it progressively got worse and then I had to hit one out of the deep jungle on the right of number eight and really tweaked it.”

Ireland’s Paul Dunne shared the lead along with defending champion Charl Schwartzel after day one but is now six off the pace, having followed his opening 66 with a round of 73.

Schwartzel was the early clubhouse leader after a 68 left him 10 under, but Stone’s round of six-under 66 saw him move one shot ahead by the end of day two.

Darren Clarke was 10 over par after two rounds and missed the cut.