Simon Thornton. Credit: golffile.ieNewcastle’s Simon Thornton built on his good form in Mallorca last week when he carded with a one-under par 71 on a windswept opening day of Madeira Islands Open at Port Santo Golfe.

As England’s Challenge Tour regular Chris Gane fired a five under par 67 to hold a one stroke clubhouse in winds winds of up to 30mph to lead by one stroke from Frenchman François Delamontagne and Scotland’s Lloyd Saltman, Thornton had three birdies and two bogeys to finish the day tied for 10th.

Colm Moriarty and Michael Hoey had level par 72s to share of 22nd as Gary Murphy’s grim struggle to get back on tour continued with a 75.

Challenge Tour player Niall Kearney had just one birdie in a disappointing 78 on a day when 24 players failed to break 80.