Posts Tagged ‘Simon Thornton’

Thornton secures Belvoir Park Pro-Am success

June 8, 2017

Simon Thornton

Simon Thornton coped admirably with blustery conditions to win the Belvoir Park Pro-Am on Tuesday.
The Newcastle-based professional fired a three under par 68 to edge out Headfort’s Joe Dillon at the Belfast course.
“It wasn’t easy. It was hard to pick the wind with it swirling through the trees,” said Thornton who is still easing himself back to full fitness following surgery on his feet.
“We’re on schedule, they are sore towards the end of the round but it’s not the same pain as before, it’s pain from the operation and that will ease in time.. hopefully.

“It’s a slow process, I’m not rushing it because there is a lot of golf to come with the Irish PGA Championship and then the Irish Open. I just have to manage it as well as I can.”

Starting at the first, Simon raced to three under after four holes courtesy of birdies at the first, third and fourth. A dropped shot at the seventh slowed his progress but he turned for home in two under 34 and an eagle at the par five 10th saw him reach four under for his round.
Simon added; “It was a nice start and then I pitched in for that eagle on 10 but after that, I was finding the middle of the greens with my approach shots and two-putting for pars.
“I bogeyed the 15th when I hit a three-wood into the trees but I think I could have been a few more under par if I had been a bit sharper.”
Kilkeel GC professional Jerry Scullion, guided his amateur partners of Neill Roulston, Ian Emerson and Sam Gillespie to success in the team event with 84 points.

Belvoir Park Pro-Am sponsored by DeepRiverRock results

Belvoir Park Pro-Am
sponsored by DeepRiverRock
at Belvoir Park (Par 71)
Leading scores
1 S Thornton (Simon Thornton Golf) 68
2 J Dillon (Headfort GC) 69
T3 D Mooney (Damian Mooney Golf), D McGrane 70
T5 C. Carvill (Belvoir Park GC), M McGeady (Seamus Duffy Golf Academy), K Shannon 72

O’Keeffe produces professional display to win Irish Amateur Championship at RCD

May 15, 2017

Peter O’Keeffe (Douglas) winner of the Flogas Irish Amateur Open Championship at Royal County Down Golf Club. Picture by Pat Cashman

Cork’s Peter O’Keeffe (Douglas GC) showed the value of experience as he eased to a three-shot victory at the Flogas Irish Amateur Championship on Sunday.
A patient approach around Royal County Down paid off for the former professional as he closed with a two over par 73 to finish three shots ahead of Scotland’s Christopher MacLean and England’s Tom Sloman.
“I am absolutely delighted. I had a feeling I was going to win something big this season,” said the 35-year-old.
“It feels fantastic. It was tough to keep my emotions in check there going up the last and it was nice to have a few shots to lean on. It hasn’t sunk in yet.”

O’Keeffe made six visits to the European Tour Q-school before reapplying for his amateur status at the end of 2013. He was then forced to sit out a two-year eligibility period and returned to the amateur game in 2016.
“It was tough. I always knew that I was going to be competitive at some level again. It wasn’t a case of retiring,” he added.
“My problem was that I never had the financial structure to plan a professional career. I still believe that I have a good game to bring me to a certain level. It’s nice to get a title like this to reaffirm that.”
And while his professional career may not have gone as planned, the experience gained was put to good use as he plotted his way around the Championship course.
“I don’t get flustered on a golf course anymore. When I was on tour, I had a buddy in Dave Connolly caddying for me, and he will tell you that was our big thing,” he said.

“There were times when I’d be ripping gloves off my hand on the golf course. Crazy stuff. I have done a complete full circle on that. But that took a lot of work. It took a long time and a lot of bad experiences to realise that was the way forward.

Marc Norton (Belvoir Park)

“I remember playing with Simon Thornton in my very first tour school, and we were playing in horrendous conditions. I got through but he cruised through, and that was the unflappable attitude that I wanted to get.”
Peter began Sunday’s final 18 holes one shot ahead of MacLean and two shots ahead of Belvoir Park’s Marc Norton and England’s Matthew Jordan. He played the front nine in level par 35 and turning for home, had extended his advantage to four shots.
A birdie at the 11th extended his lead to five before his only wobble of the day at 15th when he managed to four-putt.
“Yes I felt pressure, I lost concentration on the 15th green but I ground out a par on the next hole and then I just cruised in really,” he added.
Norton’s challenge was effectively ended on the ninth when he walked off with a quadruple bogey eight. The 19-year-old eventually signed for a 12 over 72 that saw him finish in a share of 39th.
Defending champion, Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint), who opened with a disastrous eight over par 79, battled back to end the tournament tied for 30th alongside Colin Fairweather (Knock) on 12 over par.

Determined McGrane sets sights on multiple Irish PGA Championship wins

April 12, 2017


Damien McGrane isn’t ready to hand over his Irish PGA Championship crown just yet.
The Kells golfer, a winner of the Volvo China Open in 2008, is determined to defend his title when the Championship returns to Moyvalley Hotel & Golf Resort (June 22-25).
“The hardest thing by far for me was just getting that first one,” said the 45-year-old.
“Now that I have won it, hopefully that’s opened the floodgates for me. I would love to press on and become a multiple winner of the Irish Championship. I am looking forward to returning to Moyvalley and with a bit of good form, I believe I can run it close again.”
Niall Kearney was the last back-to-back winner of the Irish Championship in 2014 and 2015. He followed in the footsteps of some Irish golfing giants including Padraig Harrington, Paul McGinley, Christy O’Connor and Harry Bradshaw.
McGrane holed a number of crucial putts over the closing holes to edge out Simon Thornton last year and he believes that having a razor-sharp short game will be the key to success over the Twin Oaks Championship course in 2017.
“Last year the weather was poor. The course was in good condition but the weather didn’t lead to low scoring,” he said.

“Moyvalley is not overly difficult off the tee so ultimately it will boil down to something of a short game contest. Anyone looking to do well will have to perform around the greens.

“Moving the tournament to a better date will hopefully help with the weather but a lot of the players probably won’t just be as match fit because it is a bit earlier in the season.
“Mind you, the Irish Championship remains the highlight of the season and I can see most of the guys going out of their way to get some golf and get some practice under their belts before they arrive at Moyvalley.”
The Irish Championship forms the centre piece of a competition schedule that will see Damien play events on the Irish region alongside the BMW PGA Championship, the Irish Open and the Challenge Tour.
“I have been away so much over the course of my career that I have very little interest in travelling,” he added.
“I am at a different stage in my career now and I enjoy playing the Irish Region but I am still very competitive as a person so I want to play well when I go out to play and I expect to do well.
“I finished in the top 10 top at the Challenge Tour event at Galgorm Castle last year. Whenever I get a chance to demonstrate that competitive edge I will load up the car and go down the road.”

* The Irish PGA Championship returns to the Twin Oaks Championship Course at Moyvalley Hotel & Golf Resort in Co Kildare from Thursday 22 June – Sunday 25 June.
The tournament features a prize fund of €30,000 and will be preceded on Wednesday June 21 by a Pro-Am which is a key fundraising event for the Shabra Charity Foundation.
For further information on booking a team at the “107th PGA Championship Pro Am Tournament” please contact The PGA in Ireland on (0)42 932 1193.

City of Derry GC and Foyle Golf Centre named joint hosts of the Walled City Pro-Am

March 17, 2017

At the Walled City Pro-Am Launch are, back row (l-r) Christine Mitchell, Lady Captain, City of Derry Golf Club; Mike Carroll, Captain, City of Derry Golf Club; Michael McCumiskey, PGA in Ireland; Lady Mayor Alderman Hilary McClintock, Mayor of Derry City & Strabane District Council; Simon Thornton, PGA Professional; Martin Campbell, Captain, Foyle Golf Centre and Florence Rankin, Lady Captain, Foyle Golf Centre. Front row L-R: Odhran Dunne, Visit Derry and Ciaran O Neill, Bishop’s Gate Hotel

The largest event in this year’s PGA in Ireland calendar, the Walled City of Derry Pro-Am, will take place in Derry City on August 26 and 27.
For the first time ever, the tournament will be hosted by two venues, the City of Derry Golf Club and Foyle International Golf Centre.
Launching the tournament, Ordhan Dunne, General Manager, Visit Derry said: “Ireland’s North West region is currently at the forefront of golf tourism on the island and whilst this tournament will be an excellent opportunity to promote the quality of the city’s parkland golf, it will further enhance our reputation as a central hub for golfers to enjoy a premier golf and tourism experience.”
Visit Derry in partnership with Derry City and Strabane Council are sponsoring the tournament which will be one of the top attractions in the North West social and sporting calendar this summer.
In 2013, Derry-Londonderry was awarded City of Culture status and enjoyed a change of attitude and a new pride in cultural identity.
It was an incredible year as the City hosted a raft of events including, the City of Culture 2013 Pro-Am, which was won by Simon Thornton, who carded rounds of 68/65 at City of Derry GC to win by four shots.
Local businesses such as Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Diageo NI, Total Golf, Nuprint, Desmond Motors, Partridge Peartree and Mint Bet have been instrumental in attracting Irish PGA professionals back to the City. This tournament will showcase local and international talent while making a significant contribution to the local economy.
Michael McCumiskey, secretary of the PGA in Ireland, stated; “This event will attract the top Irish PGA Professionals from all over Ireland. They will be competing against each other for the title and guaranteed prize pot of 15000 euros whilst teams of three amateurs will compete alongside the professional for the coveted team prize. The event will have both ladies and gents sections.
“On the Friday a junior event will take place, which is kindly supported by Irish PGA professionals. Undoubtedly, golf enthusiasts from across the North West and further afield will be keen to see PGA professionals play and I’m sure there will be high demand for spaces on teams. It will be a very busy weekend for the City.”
To obtain an entry form contact Sammy at City of Derry Golf Club on 028 7131 1496 or Conor at Foyle International Golf Centre on 028 7135 2222.

Damien Mooney in pole position to collect Conor Mallon Memorial Trophy

March 10, 2017


Damien Mooney took another positive step towards collecting the Conor Mallon Memorial Trophy when he won the recent qualifier at Shandon Park.
The Belfast golfer, now heading Damien Mooney Golf, fired a four under par 66 to finish three shots clear of current OoM leader Brian McElhinney, Chris Carvill and Simon Thornton.
McElhinney’s decision to attend Europro Tour qualifying has opened the door for Mooney to top the standings. Brian will miss the last GP qualifier on March 28 in Spa and the GP Finals at his home club of North West on April 24-25th.
It’s left Mooney in pole position, but with double points on offer over the closing events, the destination of the trophy is not set in stone.
Damien made a composed start at Shandon and opened his birdie account at the par five third. He turned in two-under-34, following a birdie three at the ninth where he holed from eight feet.
He picked up the pace after the turn and rattled off three birdies in four holes at the 10th, 12th and 13th. His only mistake of the day came on the 16th when he failed to get up and down for par.
Chris Crangle and Craig Lyall shared the assistants’ prize after both carded a two-over-par 72.
In the amateur’s gross competition, Alex Stewart (Bangor), Ward Farrell (Shandon Pk) and Paul McCullagh (Kilkeel) all carded 71s with Stewart taking first prize on the back nine. The Category One nett winner was Charles Doherty on 34 points with Gary Addis taking the Category Two prize on 33.
Pro Ciarán Molloy combined with amateur Ward Farrell to win the Fourball Betterball gross award, returning 41 points.

Leaderboard – Conor Mallon Memorial Trophy Qualifier, in association with Desmond Motors, at Shandon Park

Conor Mallon Trophy Order of Merit

Selected scores
Conor Mallon Memorial Trophy Qualifier, in association with Desmond Motors, at Shandon Park
Professionals: 66 (-4) – D Mooney (Damian Mooney Golf).
69 – B McElhinney (North West), C Carvill (Belvoir Pk), S Thornton (Unattached).
70 – J Scullion (Kilkeel), C Molloy (Blackwood).
PGA Assistants: 72 (+2) – C Crangle (Fortwilliam), C Lyall (Donaghadee).
Amateurs: Gross, 71 (+1) – A Stewart 5 (Bangor) … 1st;
71 – W Farrell 4 (Shandon Pk) … 2nd;
71 – P McCullagh 2 (Kilkeel) … 3rd.
Amateurs: Nett, Category One: 34 pts – C Doherty 4 (North West).
Category Two: 33 pts – G Addis 6 (Kirkistown Castle).
Team: Fourball Betterball Gross, 41 pts – Pro C Molloy (Blackwood) & Amateur W Farrell 4 (Shandon Pk).

With thanks to Tony McGee

Gary Wardlow doubles up with victories at Ballycastle GC and St Patrick’s GC

March 1, 2017

downpatrick
Brian McElhinney isn’t the only player capable of racking up multiple wins on the PGA in the North of Ireland circuit.
Spa professional, Gary Wardlow, made it two victories on the bounce by winning the Ping PGA Ulster Golfers’ Alliance tournament, at St Patrick’s Golf Club, Downpatrick.
The highlight of Gary’s round was a rare eagle two at the par-four 364-yard 16th when he hammered his drive to inside three feet.
He also managed to add five birdies in a five under par 64 that gave him a five shot victory over Damien Mooney and Simon Thornton.

Gary Wardlow

Gary Wardlow

A recent winner at Ballycastle GC, Gary made a strong start, grabbing back-to-back birdies at the second and third. He added another birdie at the sixth, rolling in a five-footer on his way to a mistake free front nine of three under 32.
He reached five under for the day with back-to-back birdies at the 10th and 11th.
His first mistake of the round came at the par four 14th when he found the trees off the tee but repaired all of the damage with his eagle at the 16th. He then found the sand with his approach at the 17th for another dropped shot.
His back nine of two under par 32 saw him home with something to spare over his nearest rivals.
Galgorm Castle player Ciarán Doherty snatched the amateurs’ top nett prize from Laurence Hale (Shandon Park), on the back nine, after they both posted 42 points.
The gross prize was won with 35 points by Clandeboye’s Mark McCrory.
Wardlow climbed to winner’s rostrum for a second time as he led home the winning team, after combining with Spa amateurs Jimmy Kelly and Patrick McCluskey plus Phil McKenna (Whitehead) to card 94 points.

Ping PGA UGA Tournament at St Patrick’s

Selected scores
Professionals:64 (-5) – G Wardlow (Spa).
69 – D Mooney (Damian Mooney Golf), S Thornton (Unattached).
71 – P Farrell (Laganview), P Hanna (Lurgan).
72 – G Graham (Groomsport), V Teague (Loughgall).
Amateurs: Nett, 42 pts – C Doherty 18 (Galgorm Castle)
42 – L Hale 18 (Shandon Pk)
41 – J Burke 12 (Kilymoon).
39 – G Hamill 16 (Shandon Pk).
Gross, 35 pts – M McCrory 6 (Clandeboye).
Team: 94 pts – Pro G Wardlow with Amateurs J Kelly 13, P McCluskey 14 (all Spa) & P McKenna 13 (Whitehead).
With thanks to Tony McGee

McElhinney shakes off mid round blip to record fourth win of the year!

February 16, 2017

962_kirkisdown_1278136647
Frankly, this is getting a bit ridiculous.
Brian McElhinney won his fourth event since the turn of the year at Kirkistown Castle on Monday.
The North West club pro posted a one-under-par 68 to win the Ulster Golfers Grand Prix with two shots to spare over Simon Thornton.
Brian started brightly with three birdies in his first five holes. His only stumble on the front nine came at the eighth when he three-putted from 30 feet for a bogey four.
The Donegal man turned in two-under-par 33 but then wrecked his good work with a hat-trick of bogeys.
BRIANMcELHINNEY-797471He was left of the green with his approaches to both the 10th and 11th holes, failing to get up and down both occasions for bogey. At the 12th, he was short in two blows and also made bogey five.
Now back to one over, desperate measures were called for and he produced the goods on the run-in. He rifled a four iron to 20 feet at the short 16th hole and canned his birdie putt. He then polished off his round with a birdie at the last from eight feet, after a chip to the green when he was short with his eight iron approach.
The leading assistant was David Leathem (American Golf) who posted a 74.
This was a gross competition and Lurgan one-handicapper Patrick Jordan edged Stuart Bleakley (+1 Shandon {Park) for first place after both recorded 75.
There were two nett prizes with European Tour official Andrew Snoddy winning the scratch to five category and Kieran McGoldrick best in the six to 10 section.
The team prize was won, on 38 points, by pro David Leathem and amateur Patrick Jordan.

PGA Ulster Golfers’ Alliance Grand Prix at Kirkistown Castle

Selected scores
Professionals:
68 (-1) – M McElhinney (North West).
70 – S Thornton (Unattached).
72 – D Mooney (Damian Mooney Golf), G Graham (Groomsport Golf Centre).
74 – J Scullion (Kilkeel).
Assistant Professionals: 74 – D Leathem (American Golf).
Amateurs: Gross, 75 – P Jordan 1 (Lurgan)
75 – S Bleakley +1 (Shandon Pk)
77 – A Adair scr (Carnalea).
Nett, (Scr-5) 28 pts – A Snoddy 4 (Massereene); (6-12) K McGoldrick 8 (Cairndhu).
Team: 38 pts – Pro D Leathem (American Golf) & Amateur P Jordan 1 (Lurgan).
With thanks to Tony McGee

Ballyclare’s Lyttle goes large to win Alliance event at Donaghadee GC

November 10, 2016
donaghadee-golf-club-photos-122

Donaghadee GC

Five birdies and just one bogey took Colin Lyttle to the top of the professionals’ leaderboard at Wednesday’s Ping PGA Ulster Golfers’ Alliance tournament.
The Ballyclare GC pro put together a fine round of four under 67 at Donaghadee to secure a two-shot victory over Simon Thornton.
Starting his round at the 10th, Colin reached the turn in three under par 32, courtesy of birdies at the 12th, 14th and 18th when he wedged his approach to just eight inches.
He parred the first, his 10th of the day, and then birdied the par five second to reach four under for his round.
His final birdie came at the sixth when he rolled in a birdie putt from 10 feet but he then three-putted the seventh for his only mistake of the day before closing out his round with a par at the ninth.
Clandeboye seven handicapper Chris Turney topped the amateurs’ nett leaderboard with 41 points while plus-one Mourne handicapper Stephen Barker won the gross prize on one-under-par 70.
Local pro Craig Lyall led home the winning team of Gareth Boyd (1), John Ross (5) and James Templeton (11), all Donaghadee members, on 89 points.
Next Monday, the action moves to Knock for another Ulster Golfers’ Alliance Ping-backed tournament.

Professional scoring from Donaghadee

Ping PGA Ulster Golfers’ Alliance at Donaghadee
Professionals: 67 (-4) – C Lyttle (Ballyclare).
69 – S Thornton (Unattached).
70 – C Lyall (Donaghadee).
71 – G Graham (Groomsport DR); D Mooney (Nevada Bobs Belfast).
72 – G Wardlow (Spa), C Carvill (Belvoir Pk), S Hamill (Lisburn).
Amateurs: Nett, 41 pts – C Turney 7 (Clandeboye).
40 – C Tiffen 6 (Lambeg).
39 – S Boyd 10 (Roe Pk).
38 – B Rossi 7 (Belvoir Pk) … 4th.
38 – D Girven 17 (Aughnacloy).
Nett: 89 pts – Pro C Lyall with Amateurs G Boyd 1, J Ross 5 & J Templeton 11 (all Donaghadee).
With thanks to Tony McGee

Mooney, Thornton and Whitford share first place at Clandeboye

October 27, 2016
mooneynorthofireland

Damian Mooney winner of the PGA in the North of Ireland Championship with RJ & SE Scullion LLP directors Sarah and Rory Scullion.

The opening event of the 2016/2017 season on the PGA in the North of Ireland schedule ended in a three-way tie, at Clandeboye Dufferin.
Damian Mooney, winner of the recent PGA North Championship, Simon Thornton and Ricky Whitford all carded a one-over-par 72 to head off Chris Carvill, who was just one shot adrift.
Mooney, first to set the target, was off to a flier when he rolled home a 20-footer for birdie on the fifth green but a trio of three-putts at the seventh, ninth and 10th holes brought him back to earth.
However, he steadied, again, to birdie the long 15th with a drive and three-wood to short of the green followed by a chip and putt.
Thornton was next to reach top of the leaderboard with a steady nine pars to the turn. Then, at the 12th hole, he slipped up when losing a ball off the tee to run up double-bogey seven. At 17 the Newcastle recovered one of those dropped shots when he chipped from 40 yards to four feet for birdie three.
Whitford will feel worst of the three for missing outright victory. He was two shots better off than Mooney and Thornton after 17 holes, but duffed his second approach to the last green, hit a weak chip and, finally, three-putted for double-bogey.
He birdied the fourth, sixth and ninth holes, steering a drive and nine iron to one foot at both four and nine. Out in 33, Whitford then three-putted both the 10th and 12th greens but slotted home a 20-footer for birdie three at 13, before that disastrous finish.
Laurence Hall (Shandon Park) won the amateur’s top nett prize and Iain Witherspoon took the gross award and also was a member of the all-Ballyclare winning team.

Ping PGA Ulster Golfers’ Alliance at Clandeboye Dufferin Course
Professionals: 72 (+1) – D Mooney (Nevada Bobs Belfast), S Thornton (Unattached), R Whitford (Knock).
73 – C Carvill (Belvoir Park).
74 – P Martin (Colin Glen GA), C Lyttle (Ballyclare).
75 – S Hamill (Lisburn).
76 – G Wardlow (Spa), V Teague (Loughgall).
Amateurs: Nett, 40 pts – L Hall 22 (Shandon Pk) … 1st on back nine.
40 – D Gervin 19 (Aughnacloy).
37 – G Morgan 10 (Rockmount).
35 – G Veitch 12 (Caste Hume).
Gross, 73 (+2) -I Witherspoon scr (Ballyclare).
Team: 86 pts – Pro C Lyttle with amateurs I Witherspoon scr, C Moore 8 & C Steele 2 (all Ballyclare).

Neil O’Briain caps wonderful season with PGA Ulster Championship win at Hilton Templepatrick

October 7, 2016
Neil O'Briain added the Ulster Championship to the Irish Assistant's and Southern Championship titles

Neil O’Briain added the Ulster Championship to the Irish Assistant’s and Southern Championship titles

Neil O’Briain capped his ‘best ever season’ by winning the PGA Ulster Championship at Hilton Templepatrick on Thursday.

The Old Conna man collected his 11th title of 2016 at the Co Antrim venue, firing rounds of 65/71 (136) to earn a two shot victory over Richard Kilpatrick, Ciaran Molloy, Mark Staunton and Michael McGeady.

“It’s very satisfying to close out the season with another victory. It’s been great and I really don’t know what I will do to top it next year,” said the 29-year-old who laid the foundations for Thursday’s success with a brilliant opening round seven under par 65.

“I hit the ball quite well in the opening round but I putting well – the greens were in great shape. I didn’t birdie any of the par fives, which was a bit of a mistake because they are great opportunities to notch up a birdie or two.

“So while I didn’t take advantage there I did manage to roll in a couple of putts and all of a sudden you’re walking off the last shooting seven under thinking, ‘how did I do that?.”

O’Briain finished his opening 18 holes with a three shot lead over Molloy, Staunton and Brendan McCarroll and headed out for the second round knowing that it was going to take something special from his nearest rivals to get past him.

“I birded the first and the fifth and was quite comfortable but then I made a mistake at the sixth – it’s a really great hole now – made bogey and then I found the water on nine for another bogey,” added O’Briain.

“So I had to dig in a bit on the back nine. I made a couple of key saves, dropped another shot at the par three 15th which left me wondering if I had let some of the rest back in but I managed to birdie the two par fives at 16 and 18 which was good enough to get me over the line.”

Banbridge’s Richard Kilpatrick was the best of the Ulster competitors, firing rounds of 69/69 to share second place with Damien Mooney (Nevada Bob’s Belfast) and Simon Thornton back in a share of sixth.

“I put together two very similar rounds, played the par fives pretty well,” said Kilpatrick.

“I love coming up to play at here, and would come up for a round regularly during the winter because it’s normally in such good condition.”

PGA Ulster Championship at the Hilton Templepatrick scores