Thornton to make PGA Cup debut as trio confirmed for Foxhills in September

PGA Cup trio - Adam Keogh, DJ Russell (Captain), Simon Thornton and Greig Hutcheon who qualified at PGA National Slieve Russell

Greig Hutcheon, Adam Keogh and Simon Thornton have been confirmed as the first three players to seal their place in the Great Britain and Ireland 2022 PGA Cup team.

All three PGA Professionals qualified after finishing in the top three at the PGA Play-Offs last week. They will be part of a 10-man team, captained by DJ Russell, that will take on their American counterparts at Foxhills Club & Resort, Surrey, in September 2022.

Tulfarris pro Thornton finished one outside the playoff that decided the title at Slieve Russell but he’s relishing his first PGA Cup experience off the back of his third place result.

“We’d all like to win the PGA Play-Offs but to get a spot in the PGA Cup is what we’re here for,” said Thornton.

“I’ve never played in it before. I’ve read, heard and watched all about it so I’m just delighted to be in the team.

“I haven’t played much team golf over my career. I didn’t play any amateur golf or anything like that, but it will be something new to me. I believe it’s a long week so I can’t wait to get stuck in. I’ll need to get the practice bag out now and start hitting some balls! I’m really looking forward to it!”

Hutcheon (Torphins Golf Club), who took the title at Slieve Russell, is no stranger to playing in the PGA Cup having represented Great Britain & Ireland in their famous victory over America back in 2017.

The Scotsman holed the winning putt that year at Foxhills Club & Resort and was also part of the team that drew with the Americans 13-13 at Slaley Hall in 2013.

Like Thornton, Keogh (Woodhall Spa Golf Club) is set to make his PGA Cup debut. Both finished second and third respectively in the PGA Play-Offs to book their place in DJ Russell’s team for the event, which is the Ryder Cup equivalent for PGA Professionals.

The trio’s presence in the team and the experience they have has delighted Captain DJ Russell. He commented: “It’s great to have the first three players – Greig, Adam and Simon – confirmed for the Great Britain & Ireland PGA Cup team.

“I am absolutely delighted with the standard of golf they have played during the PGA Play-Offs and they’re the start of a very strong team that we’re going to put forward against America.

“There is a real mixture of youth and experience within the three players. Adam’s a very promising youngster who hits the ball extremely well, while Greig and Simon are more seasoned campaigners. It’s nice to get that experience, but they’re all very keen and enthusiastic about playing at Foxhills Club & Resort in September in the 2022 PGA Cup matches.

“Through the team you need a bit of everything – youth and experience – so I’m delighted with the first three players, I couldn’t have picked three better players.”

Looking ahead to what will be his third PGA Cup experience, Hutcheon said: “I am absolutely delighted to be part of the Great Britain & Ireland PGA Cup team again.

“The standard is high so to make a third appearance for Great Britain & Ireland will be fantastic. I’ve experienced playing in the event before and for us PGA Professionals, it’s the next best thing to playing in the Ryder Cup. It’s very competitive so I’m really looking forward to it.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, it’s very special so I’m a lucky boy to get to be part of it again.”

Keogh admits his target heading into the 2022 tournament season was to secure his place in the Great Britain & Ireland PGA Cup team. He said: “That was my goal, to get into the 2022 team. The last two years at the PGA Professional Championship I’ve finished seventh and sixth, which would normally get you into the team.

“It’s tough to get in through the PGA Professional Championship, with the added complication of my friends getting married the week before in America so it is going to be a difficult time! I’m just pleased to have it in the pocket so to speak now.

“Whenever you can play as a team I think it’s a great thing to be able to do. You will make memories that will last a lifetime. I’m now looking forward to the event at Foxhills Club & Resort and all the preparation beforehand.”

Great Britain & Ireland will be looking to win back the Llandudno Trophy at Foxhills Club & Resort in September following a narrow defeat at Barton Creek Resort, Austin in 2019.  DJ Russell’s 10-man team will be finalised at this year’s PGA Professional Championship where six players will automatically qualify leaving a captain’s pick to complete the 2022 line-up.

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