Thornton wins PGA Challenge at Carton House

The O'Meara Course at Carton House

An improved mental approach helped Team Ireland's Simon Thornton to victory in the two-day Johnston Mooney & O'Brien PGA Challenge at Carton House.

The 38-year-old followed up Tuesday's opening round 68 with a three under par 70  to win by two shots on eight under par 138.

“I played pretty well both days, but didn't score just as well today,” said Newcastle based Thornton, who lost his European Tour card at the end of 2014 and has been flitting between the Challenge Tour and European Tour this season.

“The big difference for me was that mentally I was in the right place, I was in tune with what I needed to do.

“For the last nine months my head has not been in it. I have been down on myself and not playing well. I was talking to a couple of the guys after the pro-am and it kind of gave me a kick up the backside – they would love to be doing what I'm doing.”

Simon started the second round with a one shot lead over Colm Moriarty (Drive Golf Performance) and Daniel Beattie (Deer Park Hotel Golf & Spa). He made a positive start, collecting birdies at three of his opening five holes to extend that advantage. 

A dropped shot at the par four eighth saw him to the turn in two under 35 but he cemented his grip on the tournament by collecting further birdies at the 10th and 11th.

With a healthy advantage he could afford not to take any chances over his closing holes and even a dropped shot at the par three 14th failed to derail his victory march.

Nearest challenger, Colm Moriarty (Drive Golf Performance) came home in two under 34 on his way to a second round 71 that saw him finish alone in second on six under par.

Thornton's next task is to take his his young family off to Portugal for a week's holiday, the first time in five years he will be away without his clubs. When he returns, he is planning to play more PGA in Ireland events.

Moriarty will join a strong field assembled for the next event on the PGA in Ireland schedule, the popular Slieve Russell Masters Pro-Am on July 6-7. 

Johnston Mooney & O'Brien PGA Challenge, Carton House (The O'Meara) Par 73 

Detailed scores

138 Simon Thornton (Team Ireland) 68 70

140 Colm Moriarty (Drive Golf Performance) 69 71

143 Cian McNamara (Monkstown GC) 72 71

144 Daniel Beattie (Deer Park Hotel Golf & Spa) 69 75

145 Noel Fox (GUI National Academy) 76 69; David Higgins (Waterville GC) 72 73

146 Neil Manchip (GUI National Academy) 75 71; Hazel Kavanagh (Carr Golf Services) 71 75

T9 Noel Murray (Massereene GC) 78 69; Damien Mooney (Ballyliffin) 76 71; G Robinson 76 71.