Michael Hoey seven off pace at European Masters in Switzerland

Michael Hoey of Northern Ireland

Michael Hoey was the best of the three Northern Ireland hopefuls on the opening day of the European Masters.

Hoey's one-under-par 70 at the Crans Montana course in Switzerland left him seven shots behind leader France's Gregory Bourdy.

Darren Clarke and Gareth Maybin both hit one-over 72s with Clarke's hopes being hit by a double bogey at the par-five 15th.

Shane Lowry was the best of the Irish players on 69.

Paul McGinley and Peter Lawrie joined Clarke and Maybin on 72 with Damien McGrane hitting a 74.

Hoey dropped only one shot in his round but had to settle for just two birdies in the Swiss Alps.

Clarke's round included three birdies and two bogeys in addition to the ugly seven at the 15th while Maybin got back to level par after three early bogeys before dropping a late shot.

Leader Bourdy is two clear of Sweden's Fredrik Andersson Hed and England's Oliver Fisher.