Published Saturday, 11 August 2012
Michael Hoey at Firestone Country Club South Course earlier this month (© Getty)
His second-round 70 was only one off the low round of the day, and an eight-stroke improvement on his opening score. He had one of only five rounds under par on Friday after fierce winds arrived early and stayed for the rest of the round.
But after signing his scorecard he later brought an incident to the attention of officials.
Hoey, having embedded his ball deeply in a sandy area on the ninth hole, brushed away sand to identify it, but failed to replace the sand on his ball.
It would have been a two-stroke penalty if his card had not been signed, but because it had the punishment was disqualification.
Meanwhile Rory McIlroy and Irish Open champion Jamie Donaldson are tied for fifth.
They have two strokes to make up after scoring 75 and 73 respectively, behind Tiger Woods who is tied for lead.
McIlroy, joint second overnight, needed to dig deep when he had four bogeys in the first 13 holes, but even though he dropped another stroke at the 15th it came either side of two birdies.
"It was tough," the 23-year-old said. "It was hard getting the ball on the fairway and then onto the green - and then on the green is probably the most difficult bit.
"I could have been a couple of shots better, but I limited the damage and I'm in a good position."
Graeme McDowell, four under overnight, fell back to level par with a 76. Darren Clarke and Padraig Harrington also shot 76.