Michael Hoey and Simon Thornton both claimed spots inside the top 20 at the Madeira Islands Open – BPI Portugal as England’s James Morrison held off a rampant Oliver Fisher to win his first European Tour title with a birdie at the 72nd hole.
Hoey finished his week at Porto Santo Golfe in a tie for sixth place after his final round of 68 moved him to 11-under par, nine shots behind Morrison. Thornton meanwhile had to settle for a 75 that included a quadruple bogey at the 10th.
That round of 75 was Thornton’s worst of the week and down largely to an inward nine of 40. After negotiating the front nine in a steady 35 it was at the tenth that any lingering thoughts he had of winning a first European Tour title were extinguished.
A quadruple bogey nine dropped him well down the field and two further birdies were cancelled out by bogeys at 16 and 17 as a week that had promised so much ended in disappointing fashion, in a tie for 13th at nine-under par.
After making a slow start to the week Hoey ended strongly with his third consecutive sub-70 round.
Three front-nine birdies helped the Ulsterman to the turn in just 33 and a mixed bag of four birdies and three bogeys on the back nine meant he signed off with a four-under par round, earning a cheque of €21,000 for his week’s work.
As Hoey and Thornton tussled for positions down the leaderboard Englishmen Morrison and Fisher were enjoying a thrilling battle way out in front of the rest of the field.
Twenty-one year old Fisher shot a superb 65 to soar into contention but Morrison’s round of 70 was enough to clinch victory with a four-round total of 20-under par.
A delighted champion said: “I’m overwhelmed, it hasn’t really sunk in yet. I don’t think it’ll sink in until Monday. I’m over the moon.
“Everything’s changed,” I’ve now got my card for next year. I can play Wentworth, Loch Lomond and all the big events now. Who knows what can happen from here. I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully the doors keep opening.”