Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell Fall Short: Michael Hoey Wins at St. Andrews.
Chalk up another PGA event winner from Northern Ireland.
Michael Hoey won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship with a final round score of 68. He entered the day with a three-stroke lead but stumbled on the first seven holes Sunday, playing one over par. However, Hoey birdied three of the final four holes on the way to a two-stroke victory.
Rory McIlroy, another Northern Irishman winner (the U.S. Open at Congressional in June) made a tremendous charge on the front nine, shooting 30 and taking the lead with a birdie on the 12th hole. The well dried up for McIlroy after that, as he failed to card another birdie over the last six holes.
He finished in second place after shooting a tremendous final day 65, but the five-stroke deficit proved too big to overcome.
McIlroy will likely feel some measure of chagrin looking back on the day, as he was unable to make birdie on either par-5 at St. Andrews. He also failed to make birdie on two short par-4's despite playing his second shot from just short of both greens.
Graeme McDowell seems to be getting back into form, finishing in a tie for third place. He shot a final-round 69, but failed to build on his front-nine 33.
For those unfamiliar with the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, it has a very similar format to the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, featuring three rounds before a cut is made with professionals teamed alongside amatuer competitors. Golfers play a round at St. Andrews, Kingsbarn and Carnoustie. Those who make the cut return to St. Andrews for the final day.
With tranquil weather and relatively easy course set ups, the scores managed to go very low over the four days, especially at St. Andrews. To the surprise of no one, Carnoustie played as the most difficult course. However Hoey managed to shoot a 66 there, a big factor in his victory.
Nick Dougherty and Chris Evans won the Pro-Am event. Other notables in the field included South African Louis Oosthuizen, finishing fifth in his return to St. Andrews. Padraig Harrington finished alone in eighth place.
World number one Luke Donald racked up another top 10 finish. He finished in ninth place, as did reigning Masters Champion Charl Schwartzel.
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