Michael Hoey close to '59 round' to share Rocco Forte Open lead
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 20/05/17 1:06am
Michael Hoey threatened posting the first ’59 round’ in European Tour history on his way to grabbing a share of the early lead at the Rocco Forte Open.
Hoey fired 10 birdies in a blemish-free display at Vendura Golf Club to match the opening-round 61 set by morning clubhouse leader Sebastian Soderberg.
Beginning on the 11th hole, Hoey surged up the leaderboard by following five birdies in his first seven holes with a hat-trick of gains from the first.
The Northern Irishman picked up another at the eighth to leave him requiring an eagle-birdie finish to become the first player to ever shoot a sub-60 round on the European Tour, but left his 15-foot eagle putt short on the ninth and missed his birdie try at the last.
Soderberg was the pick of the early starters on a day of low scoring in Sicily, with the Swede reaching the turn in 30 and adding four more gains on his second nine to shoot the lowest-ever European Tour round.
Zander Lombard birdied his final two holes to card a blemish-free 62 and sit in third, with Alvaro Quiros one of three players a further stroke back on eight under after firing a hole-in-one at the par-three 13th.
"We were not sure whether we had holed it or not,"Quiros said. "I was lucky enough to hit a good shot and for it to end up in the hole.
"I've had six (holes-in-one) and unfortunately none of them with a car. If I have to complain, I am officially complaining now!"
Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn lies four off the pace after a six-under 65 as one of the morning starters, as top seed Jordan Smith and last week's Open de Portugal champion Matt Wallace opened with matching 68s.
Jamie Donaldson sits in the group on two under, with more than three-quarters of the field posting level-par
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