Thornton relishing family affair at Wentworth after PGA Playoffs win

Ronan MacNamara

Simon Thornton - Image from The PGA

Ronan MacNamara

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Simon Thornton was the last man standing in blustery and fiery conditions at Aphrodite Hills as he earned a one-shot victory at the PGA Playoffs in Cyprus.

Trailing by one heading into the final day, two rounds of low scoring were replaced by a war of attrition but Thornton hung in to chisel out a three-over 74 for a four-under total. Thornton’s only birdie of the day came on the par-3 17th hole which saw him win by a shot from Paul O’Hara having dropped shots on the 3rd, 7th, 10th and 16th holes.

“It was brutal out there to be honest, really tough, really windy and fiery, pins in tough positions on little mounds and on crests, really hard to get close to. Hitting 50-60 yard shots were difficult,” explained Thornton.

“Delighted to get over the line, that kind of golf suits my game, just have to grind it out and use experience and holed a few putts so I’m delighted.”

The rewards for winning are lucrative for the Spa Golf Professional who qualified for the PGA Cup this year as well as the opportunity to represent the club at the DP World Tour’s flagship event in Wentworth, the BMW PGA Championship on top of the Amgen Irish Open in his home club of Royal County Down.

The 46-year-old can also look forward to starts at the Betfred British Masters on the DP World Tour and on theChallenge Tour – Irish Challenge, NI Open and Farmfoods Scottish Challenge.

“Can’t wait to get back to booking flights again. I have some accommodation to sort out, so I’m looking forward to that. Have to get the shooting boots on for that and find an extra 20 yards!

The former European Tour winner will be returning to Wentworth for the first time since 2014 and he is looking forward to enjoying a family occasion in Surrey.

“I look forward to those events now. I’m looking forward to enjoying the week with my family there. If I play well, great, play poorly, great. When I was there before my kids were too young to remember it, but now they are old enough to appreciate it and remember it, so that was something I wanted to tick off the list before I got too old was go and play in an event where they understood and remember it.

“Irish Open, PGA Cup, Wentworth, it’s all coming back to me!”

However, One draw back is a clash of events that Thornton has secured spots in with The Amgen Irish Open and PGA Cup taking place on the same week!

The Spa Golf Club professional is a Newcastle resident and Royal County Down is his home club. Although he loved his PGA Cup debut in 2022 the date clash between the 9-15th of September means the 44-year-old has a decision to make. Does he represent Great Britain and Ireland in the PGA Cup again or play in a home Irish Open?

“I have a big decision to make whether it’s PGA Cup or Irish Open in Newcastle,” admitted Thornton after a one-shot win in Cyprus.

Funnily enough ahead of the Playoffs, Thornton had a conversation with his wife where this potential scenario came up and he is delighted to have such a scheduling headache.

“They clash the same week then I fly back from the PGA Cup on the Tuesday or Monday for Wentworth that week. I’ll play Wentworth regardless but the decision of Irish Open being in Royal County Down on home soil where I live is a great problem.

“My wife and I talked about it what would I do if I had the problem, now I have the problem and it’s a great problem. We will sit down and discuss it but thinking in the back of my mind I know what I want to do.”

Of the other Irish in Cyprus, Tim Rice and David Higgins finished T16 on twelve-over while the only player to shoot in red figures in the final round was England’s Daniel Whitby Smith with a 69.

The full list is below of what Simon Thornton now qualifies for in 2024

  • DP World Tour – Betfred British Masters
  • DP World Tour – Amgen Irish Open
  • DP World Tour – BMW PGA Championship
  • Challenge Tour – Irish Challenge
  • Challenge Tour – NI Open
  • Challenge Tour – Farmfoods Scottish Challenge
  • 2024 PGA Cup team spot

Final leaderboard HERE

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