Hassan II win for Hoey
Northern Irishman finishes strongly to triumph in Morocco
Last Updated: 25/03/12 7:14pm
Michael Hoey: Three birdies in last five holes sealed victory
Michael Hoey fired a closing round of 65 to claim his fourth European Tour victory in the Hassan II Trophy in Morocco.
The Northern Irishman benefited from being one of the few players to complete his third round on Saturday - several of his adversaries having to finish early on Sunday after the high winds earlier in the week.
(GB & Ire unless stated)
-17 M Hoey
-14 D McGrane
-13 J Donaldson
-13 R Coles
-13 P Price
-12 E Molinari (Ita)
-12 K Horne (SA)
-12 M Manassero (Ita)
Click here for collated scores
Hoey's 65 the previous day eventually saw him start the final round two off the lead held by Matteo Manassero (65) and Damien McGrane, who double-bogeyed the 18th early in the day to card a third round 71.
Irishman McGrane retrieved both shots at the first two holes in his final round but Hoey raced to the turn in 31 including a run of four successive birdies from the fourth to lead by two.
The pair continued to trade on top of the leaderboard though, McGrane picking up shots at the 10th and 11th while Hoey made his first mistake of the day as he turned for home, making six at the long 10th after finding the wrong green.
But McGrane then gave one back at the short 12th, and although he got it straight back it was Hoey who was to finish the stronger, picking up three birdies in four holes to sink McGrane's hopes of a first win in four years.
He won by three shots at the finish with McGrane hanging on for second with a round of 70.
"I knew it was going to be tough, I'm surprised Damien bogeyed 17 and I thought it would be a little bit tighter towards the end," Hoey, who had a breakthrough win at the Dunhill Links last year, told Sky Sports.
"It was nice to see my second shot land on the green there and I had three or four putts for it, which is unique, really.
"I've been working hard with my coach and my swing is more consistent and obviously my putting has been brilliant, I've got a nice team and a big thanks to my wife who travels with me."
Manassero had been searching for a victory that would take him back to Augusta for next month's Masters, but his round never got going and he went to the turn in 38.
At eagle at the 15th gave him renewed hope but he still required a strong finish and it wasn't to be, a six at the 17th seeing him fall into a tie for sixth.
But the round of the day undoubtedly belonged to Jamie Donaldson, who returned a sensational 11-under-par 61 that included an eagle at the ninth - his closing hole - after finding rough off the tee.
The Welshman had two more eagles on his front nine as he covered it in 28 to spark dreams of a first 59 on the European circuit, and although he birdied the 10th a six via the water at the par-five fifth halted the momentum.
However, but a third place finish provides excellent compensation after he began the final round in 43rd..
Donaldson was joined by fellow Welshman Phillip Price and Englishman Robert Coles on -13, four behind Hoey, with Manassero alongside Edoardo Molinari and Keith Horne one further back.