Kevin PhelanKevin Phelan, pictured during the third round of the US Open at Merion, will play his first European Tour event as a full card holder at Leopard Creek next week. photo: Kenneth E Dennis /

Simon Thornton finished tied 59th behind Denmark’s Morten Ørum Madsen in the South African Open and headed for Leopard Creek where he will be joined by Q-School graduate Kevin Phelan in next week’s Alfred Dunhill Championship.

The Dane shot a five under 67 to win his first European Tour title by two shots on 19 under from Jbe Kruger and Hennie Otto at Glendower GC. 

Thornton, a maiden European Tour winner in Saint Omer in June, had five birdies and five bogeys in a level par 72 that featured dropped shots at the 16th and 18th. 

He remains in South Africa for the final event of his year at spectacular Leopard Creek, where he will be joined by European Tour Qualifying School graduate Phelan, Michael Hoey, Damien McGrane, Gareth Maybin and Peter Lawrie.

Madsen, meanwhile, is projected to jump from 244th to 120th in the world following his maiden European Tour victory.

He was playing alongside overnight leader and pre-tournament favourite Charl Schwartzel, but the former Masters champion squandered a three-shot lead to finish tied for fourth with Italy’s Marco Crespi on 16 under.

Madsen said: “It’s been an amazing day. I don’t really know right now (how I feel). It’s kind of clichéd to say it hasn’t really sunk in, but it really hasn’t. 

“I’m just over the moon. I’m so happy. I mean coming down here, I expected to play well but I didn’t expect to stand here … right now, that’s for sure.”

He added: “I love the golf course. It’s pretty similar to my home course. It’s tree lined and (has) really good greens. I definitely really enjoyed it.”