Michael Hoey surges up leaderboard at Open de Espana

GOING WELL: Michael Hoey
GOING WELL: Michael Hoey

Michael Hoey surged up the leaderboard following an impressive second round at the Open de Espana on Friday.

Hoey sits on five-under and just two shots behind aptly-named leader Edouard Espana after adding a 68 to his opening 71.

The Northern Irishman’s second round of four-under-par has him bang in contention going into the weekend.

Espana claimed the halfway lead in the Open de Espana as defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez failed to make the most of a record-equalling hole-in-one.

France’s Espana overcame strong winds which sent scores soaring in the afternoon to card a second round of 69 and finish seven under par at El Prat, one shot ahead of Argentina’s Ricardo Gonzalez.

Jimenez had been four under after following birdies on the second and fifth with his ninth European Tour ace – equalling the record of Colin Montgomerie – on the eighth, but came home in 39 to card a 71 and finish one under.

The 51-year-old, who is known for his love of cigars and red wine, at least had the consolation of winning 288 bottles of beer for his hole-in-one, which came when his six-iron pitched around 15 feet short of the pin and rolled perfectly into the hole.

Espana, 25, who graduated from the Challenge Tour last season, told European Tour Radio: “Leading the open with my name everywhere is very cool.

“I played really good today, it was very windy so it was tough to control distance and the putting was tough too but I played very well and I am really happy. My family is from Spain so that’s why my name is Espana. My cousins are here this week so it’s really good.

“It’s completely different (on the European Tour), the level of tournaments are higher so I have to improve my game, my level to play good on tour and I try but it’s difficult so we will see at the end of the week if I keep going.”