Michael Hoey Nick Potts/PA Wire/Press Association Images
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Hoey leads Irish charge at Alfred Dunhill

Michael Hoey is best of the Irish so far but Graeme McDowell, Shane Lowry and Padraig Harrington are all well placed after day one of the ultimate Links challenge.

THERE ARE SEVERAL Irish golfers well in contention at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship as the tournament heads into its second day in Scotland.

Four players including Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey, whose opening round included an eagle on the par-five 18th, held the overnight lead but the latter has maintained his momentum early on day two, as he tackles the Kingsbarns course, to move clear at the front of the field along with England’s James Morrison.

Also among the golfers at the top of the leaderboard is former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, Markus Brier of Austria, Frenchman Gregory Bourdy and local Scot James Byrne.

Another man to have a day to remember on Thursday was Graeme McDowell, who shot a round of 67 on the Kingsbarns course. Afterwards, the former US Open winner revealed that he is back working with ex-coach Clive Tucker in an effort to rediscover his Major-winning form from 2010.

“Myself and my caddie had to have a bit of a heart-to-heart (after the US PGA Championship) as to what we were doing and what we needed to change,” McDowell explained to reporters.

“It was a bit of soul-searching and Clive was the answer, a guy that understands my game very well and was probably a lot to answer for why I played well in 2010. I’m not breaking my ties with Pete (Cowen), I still want him to coach me but I needed another opinion on things.”

Shane Lowry and Padraig Harrington, meanwhile, are both on four-under after respective rounds of 68, while Peter Lawrie and Rory McIlroy are two strokes further back on -2. Damien McGrane is +1 with Paul McGinley on +4 after a tough day and a card of 76.

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