Flawless Michael Hoey grabs round one lead at Thailand Classic

Michael Hoey at the Black Mountain Golf Club
Michael Hoey at the Black Mountain Golf Club

Michael Hoey needed a course record 64 to claim the outright lead on a low scoring opening day at the True Thailand Classic presented by Black Mountain.

The News Letter columnist fired eight birdies at Black Mountain Golf Club to lead Spain’s Carlos Pigem and Taiwan’s Chien-yao Hung by a single shot, and now hopes to avoid the curse of Friday 13th in his second round.

The five-time European Tour winner did not drop a shot as he moved into a commanding position - holing from 12 feet at the fifth and nearly managing an eagle at the next before settling for a last gain of the day.

“We had ten or 11 holes with not much wind, which was an advantage teeing off early,” said Hoey.

“I hit the ball well, and it suits me that there’s a bit of length off the tee; you can carry a few corners and reach the par fives in two.

“It has been a long time since I had a bogey-free card. To be bogey-free and have no fives on the card - and a course record - is a nice start.

“I’m swinging the club well so hopefully I can put three more good rounds together and see what happens.

“I started to hit the ball well in the Middle East, but I was coming 50th or thereabouts each week.

“At least I was making cuts and making money, but throwing in a few double bogeys was ruining my scorecards. Hopefully this is the start of some more bogey-free stuff.

“This is a marathon. I’m just pleased to get something out of it, because I’ve been working hard for a long time and not getting the scores.

“This is really satisfying to get a good score and hopefully I can follow it up tomorrow - Friday 13th is going to be lucky for me.”

Lipsky, who enjoyed a breakthrough win in Switzerland last year, finished with back-to-back gains to join co-sanctioning Asian Tour regulars Hung and Pigem on seven under, one ahead of India’s Shiv Kapur.

Ireland’s Damien McGrane carded a two over par round of 74