St Andrews win lifts Michael Hoey into world top 100

Michael Hoey with the Dunhill Links trophy on Swilken Bridge at St Andrews
Michael Hoey with the Dunhill Links trophy on Swilken Bridge at St Andrews

Northern Ireland's Michael Hoey has moved into the top 100 of the world rankings following his win in the Dunhill Links Championship on Sunday.

He climbs from 271st to 98th in the updated standings, in which Rory McIlroy is at number three.

Now Hoey is relishing playing in events he could only previously watch on TV, following his success at St Andrews.

He has earned a place in this year's HSBC Champions event and the Bridgestone Invitational in 2012.

Both of those are World Golf Championship events limited to tournament winners and the top ranked players in the world, somewhere Hoey did not think he would be after six visits to the European Tour qualifying school and struggles which had him wondering if he wanted to keep playing the game.

"I have struggled with my belief," the 32-year-old former British Amateur champion admitted.

"At times I have thought I am unbelievably good and at times I have felt I just don't have the consistency, which is what it is all about.

"It has taken a long time, but in a weird way you enjoy it more because you have struggled through six years of qualifying school. It is not nice when you are running out of money and confused about your golf swing and away every week travelling.

"It hasn't sunk in yet. Maybe when I'm playing the HSBC event and travelling with the guys next year to the States, maybe I will think 'I belong, I've earned my way into these events by winning the Dunhill Links'.

"I have watched a lot of golf on TV and always thought if I can play in those events I would be unbelievably happy. It is a dream come true."