Encouraging start for Michael Hoey at Czech Masters

Michael Hoey
Michael Hoey

Michael Hoey enjoyed a positive start to the Czech Masters on Thursday.

Hoey fired an opening five-under-par round to lie two shots off the lead in Prague.

The Belfast player carded six birdies and a bogey to move into early contention while Simon Thornton was next best of the Irish on three under.

Hoey is joint seventh while Spain’s Eduardo de la Riva and Renato Paratore of Italy head the field.

De la Riva holed his second shot for an eagle at the last to take a share of the first round lead.

The 33-year-old signed for a seven-under 65, matching his playing partner Paratore, who could manage only a par at the 417-yard 18th after seven birdies in a blemish-free round.

That was good enough for a one-shot lead over English duo Matt Fitzpatrick and Sam Hutsby, Swede Pelle Edberg and Belgian Thomas Pieters at the Albatross Golf Resort near Prague.

Hutsby, starting at the 10th, got off to a flier with three successive birdies.

“I’ve really struggled in my first rounds this year so I thought it would be nice to have an under-par round and take the pressure off making the cut,” Portsmouth-born Hutsby told europeantour.com.

“I think I’ve done that pretty well and I will set my sights a bit higher this week.”