Hoey holds on for win in Russia
Moscow Region, Russia – Michael Hoey shot 2-under-par 70 on Sunday and held on to win the Russian Open by four strokes.
Holding a five-shot overnight lead, Hoey saw that advantage dip to a pair of strokes late in the final round at Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club, as Alexandre Kaleka made a run at the title.
In the end, Hoey did enough to secure his fifth career European Tour title, finishing 72 holes at 16-under-par 272.
"It's pretty amazing to think that I have won five European Tour titles," said the 34-year-old Northern Irishman. "It is a great feeling to win and every time you do it you just want more and more. Hopefully, I can get at least another one before the end of the season."
Kaleka bogeyed the last for a final-round 68 and a second-place tie at 12- under 276. He finished alongside Englishman Matthew Nixon, who birdied his final hole to wrap up a 69.
JB Hansen carded a 68 and grabbed solo fourth at 11-under 277, one shot ahead of Gregory Havret (66), Wen-Chong Liang (66), Mark Foster (68) and James Morrison (69).
Playing with a comfortable lead, Hoey was steady out of the gate, opening his final round with six straight pars. That measured approach allowed halfway leader Rikard Karlberg to move within three courtesy of birdies at the second and fourth.
Hoey, though, kicked into gear, reeling off consecutive gains from the par-4 seventh to push his advantage back to five and reach the turn in 34.
"Making my first birdie of the day on the seventh was a bit of a turning point because I had burned a few edges before that and you start to wonder if it is going to be your day," he said.
Karlberg didn't provide a threat down the stretch, as he tripped to three bogeys and a pair of doubles over his first seven holes around the turn. The Swede carded a 76 and ended in a tie for 13th at 5-under, but Hoey was not home free, as another challenger emerged in Kaleka.
Playing a group ahead of Hoey, Kaleka carded an identical outward nine as the overnight leader to remain six strokes off the pace. The margin was promptly reduced to four when the Frenchman coupled his birdie at the 11th with Hoey's bogey at the 12th.
Hoey then parred his next four holes, and Kaleka took advantage, notching back-to-back birdies from the 15th to pull within a pair.
In the end, though, the threat proved fleeting, as Hoey rebounded with a birdie at No. 17 and Kaleka ended with a bogey at the last to end four back.
"There are always a couple of guys who are going to come out of the pack," Hoey continued. "It was Rikard [Karlberg], who I was playing with, on the front nine and then [Kaleka] really got close to me on the back nine.
"I did feel the pressure a bit today because I wasn't swinging it as freely as I had done yesterday, but I got the job done in the end."
NOTES: Hoey earned his first European Tour win since capturing the 2012 Trophee Hassan II title ... Entering this tournament, he had not finished better than 25th this season and had missed seven of his last 10 cuts ... Hoey's third-round 65 was the lowest score of the week ... Kaleka captured this title in 2012 when it formed part of the Challenge Tour schedule ... Karlberg was playing in his 50th European Tour event despite never securing a full playing card.