Hoey holds off U.S. Open champion to clinch Dunhill title

St. Andrews (Scotland): Northern Irishman Michael Hoey held off compatriot and world number three Rory McIlroy to claim the Dunhill Links Championship title on Sunday.

Three birdies in the last four holes at the home of golf for a closing round of four-under-par 68 and a 22-under-par 266 four-round total, earned Hoey a two-shot victory over U.S. Open champion McIlroy.

Hoey needed a battling comeback as McIlroy turned on the sort of display that won him the Congressional major in June, producing a spectacular final round 65.

McIlroy began the day five strokes adrift of Hoey but his first nine holes to six-under 30, including an eagle-two with a 90-yard pitch-in on the third, took him past the overnight leader.

Hoey trailed McIlroy right up to the 15th, due to missed birdie putts of four and three feet on the 11th and 14th but the lesser-known Ulsterman refused to bow.

When Hoey speared in a stunning approach to less than a foot on the 16th he moved back to the top of the leaderboard and a birdie on the last extended his victory margin.

It was by far the 2001 British Amateur champion`s best success of three European Tour titles, this one worth 800,000 dollars.

Northern Ireland`s current remarkable golden run included a third place for 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell (69), who finished four strokes behind Hoey with Scot George Murray (67).

Bureau Report

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