Golf: Lawrie misses chance as Hoey claims maiden win
PAUL Lawrie's hopes of a first European Tour win in seven years were ended in the closing round of the Estoril Open at Oitavos Dunes in Portugal yesterday.
The former Open champion, two shots off the pace heading into the final day's play, signed off with a one-over-par 72 for a four-under 280 and finished alongside his countryman Alastair Forsyth in a share of seventh.
The Scottish duo came in three shots behind Belfast's Michael Hoey, the Amateur champion at Prestwick in 2001, who claimed his maiden tour triumph with a play-off win over Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez Castano.
Lawrie, whose last victory on the tour came at the Celtic Manor Wales Open in 2002, had been well in the hunt early on as he countered a dropped shot at the fifth with a brace of birdies at the sixth and seventh.
But back-to-back bogeys around the turn halted the Aberdonian's charge and a level-par inward half left him trailing the charging Hoey and Castano.
Forsyth, runner-up in Estoril a year ago, claimed his second top-ten finish in a row on the tour with a battling 71 which was highlighted by three birdies on his last six holes.
Tulliallan rookie Callum Macaulay, second in the Madeira Islands Open a fortnight ago, continued his fine start to the season with a share of 12th on 281 after a 69.
Andrew Coltart and Chris Doak came in a shot further back in a tie for 21st on 282 while Stephen Gallacher and David Drysdale, runner-up in the previous week's Andalucia Open, both finished on the 286 mark.
Hoey, 30, came from five shots back and to win a three-hole play-off,
earning him 192,755 and a two-year Tour exemption.
Hoey and Fernandez Castano had tied on the seven-under mark of 277, with world No273 Hoey scoring a joint best-of-the-day 66 after teeing off joint 19th, but fearing that a missed eight-footer on the last would cost him dear.
It didn't, though, and after holing from the same distance to triumph he said: "It's a joke really – a bit of a dream. I didn't really think about winning going out, but I was lucky – I got all the breaks. I couldn't believe I was in the play-off, let alone getting up and down, up and down, up and down."
The play-off began with two trips down the 18th. Both players missed the green first time, but British Masters champion Fernandez-Castano holed from eight feet and Hoey from four.
Next time the Spaniard almost converted a 35-foot birdie attempt and Hoey, short of the green once more, sank a five-footer to stay alive. When they switched to the 17th they missed the green again. This time, however, Fernandez-Castano missed from 12 feet and Hoey seized his victory chance.
Finishing third, one shot back, was Italian Francesco Molinari, who missed an 18-foot birdie chance on the last.
277 M Hoey (Nire), G Fernandez-Castano (Spn), (Hoey won on third play-off hole]
278 F Molinari (Ita)
279 P Broadhurst (Eng), J Donaldson (Wal), M Lundberg (Swe)
280 G Bourdy (Fra), A Forsyth (Sco), P Lawrie (Sco), D Lynn (Eng), S Webster (Eng)
281 C del Moral, (Spa), F Delamontagne (Fra), D Dixon, (Eng), R Echenique (Arg), D Horsey (Eng), M Jonzon (Swe), M Lafeber (Ned), C Macauley (Sco), R McGowan, (Eng)
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