Hoey earns first win at Open de Portugal



Cascais, Portugal (Sports Network) - Michael Hoey got up and down for par on the third playoff hole Sunday to defeat Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and win the Open de Portugal.

Hoey closed with a five-under 66 to finish at seven-under-par 277. Fernandez- Castano, playing three groups behind Hoey, closed with a four-under 67 to force the playoff.

Several other players had a chance to make it a bigger playoff, but were unsuccessful.

The duo headed back to the 18th tee at Oitavos Dunes for the first extra hole. After both players found the short grass off the tee, they both missed the green with their approach shots.

Fernandez-Castano got up and down for par from left of the green, while Hoey did the same from short of the putting surface.

Hoey came up short of the 18th green again on the second playoff hole. He again got up and down for par, though. Fernandez-Castano two-putted for par.

On the third extra hole, No. 17, Fernandez-Castano missed the green short and right, while Hoey went long and right. The Spaniard pitched to nine feet before Hoey ran his chip to six feet. Fernandez-Castano missed his par-saving putt to the right.

Hoey, who had a restricted backswing on his chip because he was near a tree, drained his six-footer for the win.

"Just going out today, I thought, 'Shoot a three-under and get a good finish.' I didn't really think about winning. I holed a few putts, today was my day," admitted Hoey, who picked up his first European Tour win. "I was lucky. I had all the breaks.

"I can't believe I was even in the playoff, never mind getting up and down, up and down, up and down. It won't sink in for a long time."

Fernandez-Castano lost for the first time in four tries in playoffs on the European Tour.

Francesco Molinari closed with a three-under 68 to take third at minus-six. Mikael Lundberg (70), Jamie Donaldson (72) and Paul Broadhurst (73) shared fourth place at five-under-par 279.

Hoey birdied the third to open his round. He connected on back-to-back birdie efforts from the sixth. An eight-foot birdie putt at 10 gave Hoey the lead at minus-eight.

The Northern Irishman three-putted for bogey on the 12th to slip into a share of the lead. He recovered that lost stroke with a birdie on the 14th and regained the lead with an 18-foot birdie putt on 15. He parred out to be the first in the clubhouse at minus-eight.

"Getting the exemption and getting into all the big events is amazing really," Hoey said. "I tried not to think about it over the putt. I thought about it too much on the putt on 18 in regulation play."

Fernandez-Castano collected birdies on four and seven to move to five-under. Around the turn, he birdie the 11th to move into a tie for the lead at minus- six.

The four-time winner on the European Tour tied Hoey for the lead with an 18- foot birdie putt on the par-three 15th. Fernandez-Castano also parred the final three holes to create the playoff and close out a bogey-free round.

Former British Open champion Paul Lawrie was tied for the lead at one point on the front nine, but bogeys at nine and 10 cost him. He never recovered from there as he closed with a one-over 72 to finish at four-under-par 280.

Lawrie was joined there by David Lynn (73), Steve Webster (69), Alastair Forsyth (71) and last year's winner, Gregory Bourdy (69).

04/05 14:14:20 ET


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