Slattery holds off Hoey to win in Russia

Michael Hoey
Michael Hoey

Michael Hoey carded a brilliant seven-under par round of 64 to finish tied for fourth at the M2M Russian Open.

The 36-year-old finished three shots behind the eventual winner, Englishman Lee Slattery.

Hoey, a former winner of the tournament back in 2012, made a blistering start to his round, bagging four birdies in his opening five holes.

The Belfast man went to the turn in four under 31 and maintained that momentum into the back nine with a hat-trick of birdies at the 11th, 12th and 13th.

“I got off to a great start and hit it close a lot. It could have been nine-under really,” said Michael.

“I needed two more birdies, but I knew that on the way in. A couple of shots better might have got me into a play-off or something like that but a top five finish is still a good week.”

Michael added; “I really haven’t played my best this week. Saturday was poor, I just couldn’t focus and in the first round I lost my focus on the back nine.

“I reckon I have thrown away maybe five shots this week.

“I can take some confidence from that going into the rest of the season.”

Slattery began the day, after a two-hour fog delay, with a two-shot advantage over playing partner Estanislao Goya and Scotland’s Craig Lee,

But despite an opening birdie by the sixth hole he trailed his Argentinian rival by one and that deficit had doubled by the 12th.

However, bogeys for Goya at 13 and 15 - either side of a birdie for Slattery - edged the Southport-born player ahead.

A chip-in at the 17th gave him an important two-shot cushion heading down the last as Goya birdied but Slattery’s 69 for a 14-under total was enough to secure his second European Tour win, the first coming at the 2011 Madrid Masters where he also led by two strokes heading into the final round.

“It has been a difficult year so it’s just nice to be able to finish the year off like this, with a win, knowing that I can plan next year now and hopefully get myself going again to where I belong,” said Slattery, who is now likely to break into the world’s top 200.

“The thing that has been letting me down most has probably been my short game in the last few months so I’ve worked so hard at that and to chip one in at such an important time meant so much and it shows that practice pays off eventually.

“Going back over the last year and a half off the golf course, I’ve got married, had a kid and moved house. My wife’s dad is very ill as well, so this is for him.

“It’s just nice to be able to finish the year off like this with a win, knowing that I can plan next year now and hopefully get myself going again to where I belong, I feel.”

Goya’s 68 kept him just ahead of defending champion David Horsey, who also shot 68 to finish one ahead of a quartet, including Hoey, on 12-under.

“I didn’t play particularly great on the first few holes. I gave myself a good chance at the first and missed, and it was a bit scrappy really after that until seven and from then I played great and gave myself so many chances from inside ten feet,” said Horsey.