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Tommy Fleetwood and Michael Hoey lead at half way
September 30, 2011

Unsung Tommy Fleetwood and Michael Hoey outshone the world’s best in the Dunhill Links Championship by sharing a one-shot second-round lead on Friday.

England’s Fleetwood, normally a Challenge Tour player, and Northern Irishman Hoey were the halfway front-runners on 12-under-par 132.

Fleetwood’s 63 at Kingsbarns was one stroke off world number two Lee Westwood’s 2003 course record, while Hoey, also at Kingsbarns, added a second 66.

The pair were one stroke better than the 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen (67).

The 20-year-old Fleetwood, ranked 202nd in the world, lost out in the final at Turnberry in 2008 to Dutchman Reiner Saxton when he was poised to be the youngest winner of the British Amateur title.

Since turning professional he has had to ply his trade on the Challenge Tour and this year he has swept all before him on the lower-tiered tour, winning the Kazakhstan Open three weeks ago and heading the rankings, making a full tour card a certainty next year.

“I know where I’m playing next year and that’s given me confidence,” Fleetwood told reporters after picking up nine birdies in a faultless round. “My name is in pretty good company right now.

“I had chances to win on the Challenge Tour and finally got it done in Kazakhstan, let’s see if I can do it on the bigger stage,” Fleetwood added.

Hoey, 271st in the rankings, took the British Amateur title in 2001 but struggled to make any impact in the professional ranks until winning the 2009 Portuguese Open. He then added the Madeira Islands Open title in May.

“Landing a really big title has obviously been a long-time goal,” Hoey, 32, said. “I led this tournament a couple of years ago after two rounds so I’ve had the experience before.

“My putting has improved with a new coach and a new putter, so I’m hopeful this will be my week.”

Oosthuizen had his week last year at St Andrews and the South African, with two rounds at the course to come, is hoping to do well again there.

“I’ve had a pretty thin time of it over the last few months but perhaps St Andrews will be kind to me again,” he said.

The 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell was in a large group two shots off the pace. McDowell was also hoping to turn back the clock at the Old Course where in 2004 he posted a course-record 62.

Two bogeys in the last three holes dropped world number six and defending champion Martin Kaymer three shots off the pace.

World number one Luke Donald hit 71 to put himself eight shots behind the top duo, losing ground on his world-ranking and money-list rivals, Westwood and world number three Rory McIlroy, who were both five shots adrift.


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