Simon Thornton (Tulfarris Golf Resort) claims the 108th Irish PGA Championship at Galway Bay Golf Resort as bad weather reduced the event to a 36 hole contest.
Simon’s opening round 71 on Thursday left him three shots behind the leader, Richard Kilpatrick (Banbridge GC). Unfortunately, the remnants of Storm Callum forced the second round to be halted on Friday and then heavy rain battered the players when they returned today (Saturday) to complete round two.
“Traditionally I always start the season pretty poorly, it doesn’t matter what Tour I am playing on,” said the 41-year-old Newcastle based player who finished the tournament on three under par (71/70).
“I said to myself back in February that I wasn’t going to let it happen this year and I put some more work in so I could compete straight away and that paid dividends.
“I have played really nicely, had some really good scores and this caps off a really good year.”
With the forecast promising further heavy rain and still one round scheduled to play, PGA officials declared Thornton the winner after 36 holes. It’s his second Irish PGA Championship success following victory at Seapoint in 2011.
“It was very windy when we started round two on Friday. The last half hour before we came off the course was brutal,” added Simon.
“It is a golf course where the wind comes at you from different angles so it was just a matter of hitting the ball in the place you wanted to miss best rather than going at flags.”
He continued; “It was actually quite benign this morning when we started off.
“I played lovely and hit a nice tee shot at our first hole of the day which was the 15th.
“I birdied 16, 17, 18 and the second and then I doubled three. It was fine when we teed off at the third but by the time we got to the green it was like a monsoon but that is the way it goes, you just have to plug away, I’m delighted to win.”
Kilpatrick finished in second place after following up his opening round 68 with a two over par 74. David Higgins (Waterville Links) grabbed third posting a 69 to follow up his opening round 74.