GOLF: Michael Hoey still in the hunt at Rocco Forte Open

Michael Hoey

Michael Hoey

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Michael Hoey is just two shots behind leader Alvaro Quiros of Spain at the halfway point of the Rocco Forte Open in Sicily.

Hoey - top of the overnight leaderboard alongside Sweden’s Sebastian Soderberg after a brilliant 61 - played well yesterday to hit a three-under 68 in the second round.

Hoey, who lost his full European Tour card last year, recorded six birdies and three bogeys in his second round.

Quiros birdied his last four holes for a 63 to go two strokes clear on 14 under par for the tournament.

Soderberg matched Hoey’s 68 and the pair are tied on 12 under.

Quiros said:“It’s a very nice situation for me, it’s a long time since I’ve had the opportunity,” Quiros told Sky Sports.

“My game today was a little bit worse than yesterday, but my putting on the back nine was unbelievable so I’m very happy with it.

“Sometimes I’ve been very greedy trying to force myself into a better score.

“(Starting with) eight consecutive pars was a typical situation for me to blow my mind because I’m not shooting low, and today was a big step forward.”

And former Masters champion Mike Weir made his first halfway cut since November 2014 after a battling display.

The Canadian recovered from a triple-bogey on the 18th - his eighth hole of the day - to card a second round of 70 at Verdura Golf Club and finish right on the cut mark of five under par.

That was 10 shots off the halfway lead, but simply making the weekend for the first time in 34 events represents a step in the right direction for the former world number three.

Weir, who has slumped to 1,907th in the rankings, has struggled for form ever since undergoing elbow surgery in 2011 and announced in July 2015 that he was taking an indefinite leave of absence from golf for family reasons.

The left-hander does not have any status on the PGA Tour and after missing the cut at Augusta National for the sixth time in the last seven years, also made early exits from European Tour events in Morocco and Portugal.