MICHAEL HOEY turned in a remarkable performance to shoot 11 under.
He failed to make the cut in 2009 so his seventh place finish, just five shots behind Pádraig Harrington, put him firmly in the spotlight.
"It’s the first time I’ve made the cut here and to be welcomed by those crowds was just great. It really got the juices flowing. It was just an unbelievable atmosphere. It certainly got the adrenalin going. I had to control myself playing the bunker shot at the last, my heart was pounding, not to think about money and results and all that type of thing. I’m really pleased at how I was able to hang on at the end because I have been working hard on my game and it’s just nice to get something back from it."
Hoey shot a 67 on the final day, a round that included six birdies (five in the front nine) and two bogeys.
"If someone had told me I’d be seventh at the start of the week I would have snatched it. I just want to keep improving. I was four under after nine.
This will probably go a long way to retaining my card. I needed to get the money up. I just tried to take the pressure off myself over the last few holes. Hopefully I can press on now.
"There’s plenty of golf left. I’ve looked for consistency and that’s what I’m getting. I took a lot from the French Open, Sweden was good too, I was in contention. I wasn’t feeling great at the start of the year. I picked up a virus on long haul travels to South Africa and Dubai. It took me a few months to get over but I’m feeling strong now."