Thornton claims victory in final Links Trophy qualifier – final 16 confirmed


Simon Thornton (Tulfarris Golf Resort) carded a six-under-par 61 on Royal County Down’s Annesley Links to head off Brian McElhinney (North West) and Chris Carvill (Belvoir Park) in the final qualifying round of the PGA Links Trophy.
The winner coasted to the turn in three-under-par 31 with birdies at the second, third and ninth holes. At the second, he holed from eight feet after a drive and nine iron to the green, then wedged to five feet for a two at the next. At nine he drove the green and got down in two putts for another birdie three.
A gap wedge to six feet gave Thornton his second two but the run was halted when he found the rough twice at the 12th resulting in a bogey five.
His third two – an eagle this time – was pencilled in at the 15th after he drove to eight feet.
However, despite the birdies and his eagle, the key moment of Simon’s round came at the par four 17th where his drive was plugged in a bunker and he had to take a penalty drop. The attempted recovery then hit the bank and ran back into the sand but from there, he holed out to save his par.
Thornton finished with another birdie three as he rolled home a 15-footer after a drive and wedge to the 18th for a home run of 30.
The leading 16 players have qualified (list below) for the matchplay final at Royal County Down’s Championship Links on March 27.  The 16 players will play in groups of four, playing round robin six-hole medal Matchplay with the winner of each group progressing to the semi-finals in the afternoon.
Each semi-final will be nine-hole medal Matchplay with the two winners contesting the final over nine holes and the losers playing for third and fourth place over nine holes.

PGA Links Trophy Final Qualifying Round at Royal County Down (Annesley Course)
61 (-6) – S Thornton (Tulfarris Golf Resort).
62 – B McElhinney (North West), C Carvill (Belvoir Pk).
65 – A Cathers (Ardglass).
67 – N Kernaghan (Massereene), S Donnelly (Castle Hume).

PGA Links Trophy Qualifiers
Brian McElhinney (North West)
Simon Thornton (Tulfarris)
Chris Carvill (Belvoir Park)
Gary McNeill (Ry Portrush)
Shaun Donnelly (Castle Hume)
Adam Cathers (Ardglass)
Paul Stevenson (Portadown)
David Allen (Newtownstewart)
Damian Mooney (D Mooney Golf)
Ciaran Molloy (Mayobridge)
Chris Loughrey (Castlerock)
Nathan Kernaghan (Massereene)
Neil Graham (Portstewart)
Gary Wardlow (Spa)
Michael McCrudden (Roe Park)
Wes Ramsey (Knockbracken GA)

Info courtesy of Tony McGee

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