Thornton’s purple patch continues at Connemara Pro-Am

by | Sep 20, 2021 | 0 comments

Simon Thornton (Photo by Patrick Bolger/Getty Images)

John Craven

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Simon Thornton admits the game has been coming easy to him in recent weeks off the back of his latest runaway nine-shot success at the Connemara Pro-Am.

The Tulfarris pro completed two circuits of the stunning Co Galway venue in 12-under par to finish nine shots clear of runner-up, Richard Kilpatrick.

Thornton pulled away from the field with successive rounds of 66 and has been making winning a habit of late, not least when he fired an opening round of 60 on his way to victory at the EuroPro Tour’s NI Masters at Clandeboye.

Still not practicing between tournaments, Thornton’s rich vein of form has seen him record eight top-10’s from nine starts on the region this season and although the good times show no signs of stopping, he’s still not quite sure of the magic formula that has fuelled this remarkable run on the fairway.

“It all stems from a clinic I did for the members of Carlow ahead of Damien McGrane’s pro-am,” Thornton said. “I was there early and hit an hour’s worth of balls which I hadn’t done in a long time and something just clicked. This past four weeks it’s felt a bit like riding a crest of a wave. I’m standing on the golf course, picking a target, hitting it at that and right now it’s working.

“It’s the clarity of things – the clarity of thought, the process, my pre-shot routines – it’s all coming to me very naturally and easily at the moment. Some days you go out and your swing is just not where you want it to be but right now there’s a nice flow to it and the game is easy because it’s going where it’s supposed to go. Now listen, that could stop tomorrow morning but right now it’s a nice game to play.”

The 44-year-old banked €1,800 for his latest win, leaving him in second place behind Waterville’s David Higgins on this season’s Order of Merit. Excelling on the region is one thing but his victory amongst EuroPro company was further evidence that Thornton still has the game to compete further afield.

A winner of the 2013 Najeti Hotels et Golfs Open on the European Tour, Thornton knows he retains enough ability to hold his own against some of the best players in the world but in order to pursue such thoughts of grandeur consistently, he accepts the clubs couldn’t stay in the car between tournaments; a required dedication that he struggles to see himself re-committing to any time soon.

“I sort of think if I’m playing the way I’m playing now, then maybe I could take on more golf but then I look at my passport and my date of birth and I think, ‘no, you can’t’,” he laughed.

“Yes and no – never say never sort of an attitude but I like the mix that I’ve got now between work, family and golf. To go back and compete at any level, I’d need to put work in to get to where I want to get to. I wouldn’t want to go and compete on the EuroPro or the Challenge Tour for that matter. I’d only want to go back and play on the Main Tour which I don’t think leaving the clubs in the boot for a week or two would work, to be honest!

“I’m probably playing as well right now as I have done. Obviously the golf courses are a lot longer and harder and the pin positions are tucked away on the main tour etc but I’m playing well and shooting good scores, probably playing as well as I have done so hopefully I can keep it going for a while more yet.”

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