Posts Tagged ‘Simon Thornton’

PGA in Ireland team cruise to 16-shot International Team Championship success

November 26, 2017

2017 PGAs of Europe International Team Championship Winners, the PGA in Ireland – [L to R] Simon Thornton, David Higgins & Mark Staunton
Pic by Johan Hampf’

Ireland cruised to an emphatic 16-shot victory in the International Team Championship at Costa Navarino, Greece on Saturday.
Mark Staunton’s (Delgany GC) stunning bogey-free final round 64 (-7) set the seal on a superb team effort by the PGA in Ireland representatives.
“It was an excellent few days. The resort was first class and the event was well run by the PGA’s of Europe,” said Galway born Staunton.
“It is great to have the honour of representing your country and even better to be able to win. The two lads (Simon Thornton and David Higgins) played great all week and on a personal note, it was nice to finish the week off strongly.”
The International Team Championship saw 21 teams from the PGAs of Europe’s member countries battling it out over 72 holes on the Bernhard Langer designed The Dunes Course. The best two individual scores each day from the team of three counted towards the overall team score.
Ireland trailed Scotland by five shots at the close of play on day one but a second round five-under-par 66 from Thornton (Tulfarris Golf Resort) helped to turn that deficit into a two-shot lead.
“We had a great week. Everyone in the team contributed and winning by such a wide margin made it even more special,” said Simon.
“It feels great to beat the other European countries and I think it highlights the strength and depth of player we have in Ireland.”
Once ahead, Ireland put the foot down finishing day three with a six-shot advantage which they extended to a remarkable 16 shots by the end of play on day four.
“It was a great way to finish the season,” said Higgins (Waterville Links) who got Ireland off to a solid start on day one with an opening round 68 (-3).
“It is a great honour to be selected to represent your country and to win while doing it is extra special.”
This is the third time Ireland has won the ITC. The last Irish team to win the title in 2008 featured John Kelly (St Margaret’s Golf &CC), Robert Giles (Greenore) and Eamonn Brady (Clontarf).

2017 International Team Championship leaderboard

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Irish trio chase International Team Championship crown in Greece

November 21, 2017

Mark Staunton

David Higgins (Waterville) Mark Staunton (Delgany) and Simon Thornton (Tulfarris Golf Resort) are representing the PGA in Ireland at the International Team Championship in Greece this week (Nov 22-25).
“I’m looking forward to it. The last time I played team golf was, I suppose, when I was 21 and I got one of my final international caps for Ireland playing on a two-man team in Belgium,” said Staunton who will be making his debut in the event.
“I have played in a few Alliance outings around Dublin recently and have been playing quite nicely,” added Galway born Mark who won the Irish Order of Merit in 2007.
“I went for a lesson a while ago and my scoring has picked up a bit over the last few rounds so hopefully I can take some of that form with me to Costa Navarino.

“I’ve no expectations but I do know I will be playing alongside a couple of very good players in David and Simon.”

Simon Thornton

Thornton has recently been appointed tournament professional for Tulfarris Hotel and Golf Resort, near Blessington Lakes, Co Wicklow.  The resort’s championship golf course has also been revealed as one of the venues for the PGA EuroPro Tour in 2018.
Simon added: “I am delighted to be starting my new role at Tulfarris Hotel and Golf Resort. The first thing I noted was the quality and layout of the course, which is really impressive. Tulfarris really has all the ingredients to become one of the premier golfing destinations in Ireland. It’s an exciting time for the Resort and I am looking forward to being part of its success.”
Ireland have contended regularly at the ITC in recent years but no team has managed to match the exploits of John Kelly, Robert Giles and Eamonn Brady who collected the title in 2008 in Spain. Last year, the team of Damien Mooney, Eamonn Brady and Michael McDermott led the way after round one but eventually finished the tournament in fourth, behind winners the PGA of Germany.
This year 21 teams will compete over 72 holes on The Dunes Course, designed by Bernhard Langer. The best two individual scores each day from the team of three will count towards the overall team score. A secondary event sees small and emerging Member PGAs compete for the ITC Shield.

International Team Championship Leaderboard

Richard Kilpatrick back in winning form at Luttrellstown Pro-Am

September 17, 2017

Richard Kilpatrick (right) with Peter Lawrie, Director of Golf, Luttrellstown Castle

Richard Kilpatrick fired a five under par 67 to win the Luttrellstown Pro-Am.
The Banbridge professional finished two shots ahead of the in-form Simon Thornton (Simon Thornton Golf) and Michael McDermott (Grange GC).
This was a welcome return to the summit for Richard who last tasted victory back in July.
With a shot-gun start in operation he began his round at the par five 17th in ideal fashion, rolling in an eagle putt of just four feet. Richard added further birdies at the first and third, completing his opening 11 holes in four under par.
The 35-year-old stepped up the pace after the turn with a hat-trick of birdies at the 10th, 11th and 12th.
He then dropped a couple of shots at the 14th and 15th before finishing off his round with a closing par on the 16th.
Daniel Beattie (Deer Park) and amateur partners Michael Baumgart, Joe Clinton and Peter Behan collected the team prize on countback ahead of Robert Giles’ (Greenore GC) team.

Luttrellstown Pro-Am Leaderboard

Simon Thornton and Chris Carvill share first place at Clandeboye

September 12, 2017

Simon Thornton

Simon Thornton shared first place with Chris Carvill (Belvoir Park) at the final Summer Masters event of the season. Battling wet and windy weather at Clandeboye GC, the pair carded rounds of level par 72 with Adam Kerr (Co. Armagh GC) back in third place following a 76.
It didn’t appear to be Simon’s day when he lost a ball at Clandeboye’s opening hole to pencil in a double-bogey six and he then three-putted the short second but he holed an eight-foot birdie putt at the third to stop the rot.
Simon then missed the green at the fifth resulting in a bogey four but got the shot back with a chip and putt at the long sixth to turn in two-over-par 37.
A birdie two at the 14th, from six feet, and an eagle three at 15, from three feet, saw him reach one under for his round, but another dropped shot at the 17th left him on level par.
Chris had just nine pars on his card. A birdie three from seven feet at the third hole was sandwiched between bogey fives at the first and eighth. A three-stab cost him a stroke at the 10th but back-to-back birdies two and four at the 11th and 12th brought him back to level.
A lost ball at 13 cost him a double-bogey six, before another pair of birdies at the long 15 and par four 16 gave him a relegation 71 round.
Thornton and his amateur partners carded 84 points to win the team title.

Summer Masters at Clandeboye Leaderboard

PGA Summer Masters at Clandeboye
Professionals: 71 (Lvl) – S Thornton (Simon Thornton Golf), C Carvill (Belvoir Pk).
76 – A Kerr (Co Armagh).
78 – P Farrell (Laganview Golf Centre), A Peoples (Darren Clarke School).
Amateurs: Nett, 34 pts – A Verner 5 (Portstewart).
32 – J Templeton 11 (Donaghadee).
31 – V McCaffrey 11 (Massereene).
Gross: 27 pts – P Kelly +1 (Co Armagh).
Team: 84 pts – Pro S Thornton (Simon Thornton Golf) with amateurs A Connolly 6 (Blackwood), J Connolly 12 (Blackwood) & A Hope 9 (Clandeboye).

with thanks to T McGee

 

Spa Golf Club to host PGA in the North of Ireland Championship presented by GolfNow

August 23, 2017

(Lt- Right) John Brannigan (Captain Spa GC), Phil Posnett (PGA in the North of Ireland), Gary Wardlow (Professional Spa GC) and Andrew Holywood (Marketing Director, GolfNow)


The PGA in the North of Ireland Championship has found a new home for 2017 – Spa Golf Club – and a new sponsor in the shape of GolfNow.
The tournament is scheduled for October 11th and 12th with Damian Mooney (D Mooney Golf) set to defend the title he won last year at Downpatrick.
Damian will be closely challenged by top professionals such as Simon Thornton (S Thornton Golf), Phil Collins and host club professional Gary Wardlow.
Some of the up and coming professionals, the likes of Chris Carvill (Belvoir) and David Leathem (American Golf) will, of course, be looking to make their mark in the Northern Branch’s flagship event.
The format will be a team four-man pro-am on day one with the professionals carrying their scores forward to the final round on day two, making a 36 hole tournament.
PGA in the North of Ireland Chairman, Ricky Whitford (Knock) said: “We in the PGA in the North of Ireland are delighted to welcome GolfNow to our tournament, we are always grateful for the support of companies who work in golf and it is great to see them putting something back into the game. Good luck to all who play and it will be our pleasure to entertain some of GolfNow’s guests on the pro-am day.

“Many thanks must go to host Professional Gary Wardlow and the Captain, Council and Members of Spa Golf Club for their support. We are looking forward to playing this top class venue.”

Andrew Hollywood, Marketing Director GolfNow noted: “We are delighted to be working with the PGA in the North of Ireland to deliver our first GolfNow sponsored Pro-Am tournament. At GolfNow our main objective is to grow the game of golf and working with the PGA to set up a fun, and challenging, tournament helps us achieve this.
“It’s fantastic to be able to invest in the local game and we hope the tournament will inspire golfers to get out and get active. Spa Golf Club is a great venue and to see some of the best professionals in the country compete will be an inspiration to many a golfer.”
Spa Captain John Brannigan added; “I am delighted to welcome the Professional Golfers Association to Spa Golf Club and wish to thank them for selecting our course for this important and prestigious tournament.
“Spa will provide a great challenge to players who are the cream of our game in this country and I know they in turn will provide a wonderful spectacle over the two days.
“At Spa we believe we have a challenging course and amenities that are second to none. This is a wonderful opportunity for Spa to showcase what we have on offer here in the heart of Co Down.”

NI Open – Cormac Sharvin carries home hopes into Shootout Sunday

August 13, 2017

 

Matthias Schwab

The stage is set for an action-packed final day at the Galgorm Resort & Spa Northern Ireland Open presented by Modest! Golf.
Following three rounds of stroke play and two cuts, the field of 156 has been reduced to 24 players for today’s Shootout Sunday.
In this new format, competitors will engage in a series of head-to-head knock-out stroke play matches, with the player with the lowest total score over six holes progressing through the rounds.
A special shootout hole, a shortened version of the 18th, will be used should a playoff be required after any of the games.
Cormac Sharvin will carry home hopes into Sunday after booking his place in today’s finale with a fine five-under-par 66 that saw him move up 21 places on the leaderboard.
The Ardglass golfer will meet Portugal’s Ricardo Santos in round one this morning for the chance to face Chile’s Nico Geyger.
“I know Ricardo very well – I played a lot of Algarve golf with him in the winter,” said Cormac.
“He’s a really nice guy and he is obviously very experienced – he has played a lot of years on the European Tour.

“It will be a tough game but I think, If I can keep playing the way that I am playing – if I play well for six holes – I think I can beat him.”

Cormac was the only Irish golfer to make the third round cut which fell at five under par. Tournament ambassador Michael Hoey carded a third round one under par 70 to miss out as did Damien McGrane, Simon Thornton, Kevin Phelan and Neil O’Briain.
The 24-year-old Sharvin was weighing up his tactics ahead of his opening tee-shot today at 8.30am.
“It’s hard to know with this format. All you can do is play well and hope that it’s good enough,” he added.
“You are essentially playing your opponent but it is stroke play as well. It’s a weird format but obviously, if you are two or three shots ahead playing the last you will play it as a three-shotter.
“The beauty of this format is that you can shoot four over for six holes and still potentially make it through.
“All you can do is take it one shot at a time. You have to play smart because six holes isn’t very much so you have to take your chances.”
Sharvin at least had the luxury of booking his place in today’s field with some room to spare. A five-man playoff for the final two spots was required to determine the top 24
Austrian Matthias Schwab topped the three round leaderboard on 11 under par but Wil Besseling, Steven Brown, Julian Kunzenbacher, Max Orrin and Manuel Trappel all tied on five under par after 54 holes and had to go down the 18th again.
Orrin’s birdie on the first extra hole took him into Shootout Sunday, with Brown dropping out with a bogey; the other three all parred before Trappel birdied at the second time of asking and took the final place in the top 24.

 

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.