Thornton cruises to victory at Vermillion Energy Carne Pro-Am

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Simon Thornton (Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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A free-scoring Simon Thornton (Tulfarris Golf Resort) eased to an eight-shot victory at the 36-hole Vermilion Energy Carne Pro-Am as he posted rounds of 66 (-6) and 68 (-4) to comfortably ease away from the field, finishing on 10 under par.

Colm Moriarty (Glasson Golf Club), David Higgins (Waterville Golf Links), and Richard Kilpatrick (Banbridge GC) finished tied for second on two-under-par.

“It’s a good score. The weather was perfect and we probably got the best of the draw,” said Thornton.

“The wind blew a bit yesterday (Saturday) afternoon but I don’t think it blew so much today (Sunday) but you still have to go out and play the golf and I really didn’t make many mistakes bar a couple today which cost me a pair of bogeys.”

The Carne Pro-Am is one of the highlights of the Irish PGA circuit each year and with 27 holes available at the Belmullet venue tournament organisers introduced the Kilmore nine to tournament play for the first time on Sunday with the layout getting rave reviews.

“It’s spectacular, some of the holes are fantastic and I’m sure it will mature and develop over the next couple of years,” added Thornton.

“What a piece of ground they have. You look around and can picture other golf holes meandering through the dunes.”

Brendan Walton (Portmarnock Links) and amateur partners Sean Gaughran, Michael Gaughran, and James Maguire claimed the team prize with a two-round score of 185 (96/89).

In what has turned into an unusual year, Covid-19 has also played a role on the Irish PGA circuit with events cancelled and postponed and just to be playing means a lot to the players.

“This year, because of Covid and stuff there is not so much riding on events in terms of Order of Merit and that sort of thing. It’s all about enjoying the golf and getting back out and playing again,” said Thornton.

“I have to be honest, I haven’t been practicing. I have hit a few balls once or twice a week just to keep swinging the golf club. And do you know what, when I tee it up at the minute I am really enjoying it. My mind is much freer and I’m just standing up and hitting the shot in hand.”


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