Thornton shuffles to top of the pack in Irish PGA

Thornton shuffles to top of the pack in Irish PGA
Simon Thornton. Picture: Phil Inglis

Simon Thornton. Picture: Phil Inglis

Simon Thornton did his best to ignore a niggling foot injury and limped his way to a seven under 65 and a three shot lead after the opening round of Irish PGA Championship at Moyvalley Hotel and Golf Resort.

The 39-year-old struggled to walk around the Twin Oaks Championship Course but still managed an eagle, six birdies and two bogeys to lead from Order of Merit champion Eamonn Brady and (Keith Shannon, who was left to rue a double-bogey seven at the 18th.

“In some ways it makes things easier. I can only swing the club one way at the moment so it takes away a lot of options,” Thornton said after a round where his only dropped shots came at the fourth and 11th. 

“That was a good score today. I probably only hit two shots where I didn’t want them go. It suited me today. There was a bit of a breeze which I enjoy.”

Shannon said: “I found the water twice. Even a bogey wouldn’t have been so bad,” said the 28-year-old from Forkhill in Co Armagh who started his round with a bogey but then added five birdies and eagle.

“I've only played a handful of times this season because I've been working to finish my PGA qualifications so I wasn't too sure how I was going to get on. After that bogey at the first I actually stayed pretty patient. I’m pretty happy, it's a good start.”

Edmondstown’s Andy Hogan, Belvoir Park’s Chris Carvill and Monkstown’s Cian McNamara are tied for fourth after opening with rounds of three under 69.

“A very steady round of golf, 15 pars and three birdies,” said Cian.“Nothing was great and nothing was bad. I’m pretty happy with it – it was solid.”

Defending champion Niall Kearney is in a group of five players who ended the day on two under par.

“I think I hit 17 greens in regulation. I could have holed a few more putts but it was a steady start and gives me a decent platform for the rest of the week,” said Niall.

The 106th Irish PGA Championship is being staged - In Association with Title Sponsors Moyvalley Hotel & Golf Resort, Official Media Partners Golf Digest Ireland and Classic Hits 4FM and with support from House of Waterford Crystal and Skycaddie.

Irish Professional Championship, Twin Oaks Championship Course, Moyvalley Hotel and Golf Resort (Par 72)

Detailed scores

65 Simon Thornton

68 Keith Shannon, Eamonn Brady (Clontarf)

69 Andy Hogan (Edmondstown), Christopher Carvill (Belvoir Park), Cian McNamara (Monkstown), 

70 Mark O’Mahony (Titleist National Fitting Centre, Niall Kearney (Royal Dublin), Colm Moriarty (Drive Golf Performance Limited, Richard Kilpatrick (Banbridge), James Quinlivan (Mullingar)

71 Eddie Doyle (The Eddie Doyle Golf Academy), David Barry (Douglas), David Higgins (Waterville Golf Links), Michael McDermott (Pure Golf Leopardstown), Glen Robinson

72 Steven Quinlan, Brian McElhinney (North West), Neil O’Briain (Old Conna), Daniel Beattie (Deer Park Hotel Golf & Spa), Matthew Dunmore (Bundoran)

73 Jerry Scullion (Kilkeel), Shaun Donnelly (Castle Hume), Kenny Fahey (GUI National Academy), Damien McGrane, Brendan McGovern (Headfort), Damian Mooney (Nevada Bobs Belfast)

74 Mark Whelan (Castlewarden Golf & Country Club), John Dignam (Slade Valley), Tara Delaney (The Eddie Doyle Golf Academy), Scott Wilson (Co. Louth), Brendan Walton (Island), Ciaran Mckenna (Mallow)

75 Shane Jenkinson (St Margaret’s Golf & Country Club), Conor Coyne (Lisheen Springs), David Foley (Dromoland Castle) Padraig McGrath (P & M Golf Superstore Ltd), Paul Stevenson (Portadown), Brian Doheny (Mount Juliet), Mark Staunton (Delgany), Ciaran Molloy (Blackwood Golf Centre

76 Padraig Dooley (Drive Golf Performance Limited), Tony O’Regan (Galway Bay Golf Resort), Dara Lernihan (Elm Park), Adam Dunmore (Bundoran)

77 Stephen Hayes (Douglas), Diarmaid Fraser (Killarney Golf & Fishing Club), William Noble (County Cavan), Brian Sweeney (Naas), Michael O’Shea (Rathsallagh), Peter O’Hagan (Luttrellstown Castle), Mark Murphy (McGuirks Golf), Michael McGeady, Patrick Sheehy (McGuirks Golf), Brian Jnr McCormack (Edenderry Golf Academy), Gary Chambers (Killymoon), Hazel Kavanagh (Carr Golf Centre at Spawell), David Ryan (Cahir Park), Jimmy Bolger (Kilkenny)

78 Ronan Collins (Halpenny), Mark Beckett (Killarney Golf & Fishing Club), Dan Hinds (City of Derry), Brian O’Reilly (Glenlo Abbey), Michael Kelly (Dun Laoghaire), Paul Masterson (Macreddin)

79 Christopher Loughrey (Castlerock), Bernard Quigley (Tullamore), Graham Byrne (Palmerstown Stud), Patrick Small (Galway)

80 Mark Heinemann (Beaufort), Kevin Foy (Stepaside Golf Centre), Thomas Johnston (Castlerock), Stephen McCarthy (Black Bush), David Mortimer (Galway)

81 Alan Staunton (Hollywood Lakes), Kyle Cannon (Portmarnock), Josh Adams (Unattached), David Leathem (Nevada Bobs Belfast), Robert Giles (Greenore), Thomas Niland (Tuam), Ryan Madigan (Waterford Castle)

82 Conor Gorevan (Hermitage)

83 Ross Young (Carr Golf Centre at Spawell), Jim Robinson (Co. Sligo), Lynn McCool (Lough Erne Golf Resort

84 Fintan Lacey (Roganstown Golf & Country Club), Peter Hanna (Lurgan)

85 Corey Doherty (Athlone), Donard MacSweeney (Mullingar), Roy O’Neill (Galway)

88 Ciaran Hegarty (Castleknock), Peter Hickey (Cork), Daniel Crowley (Fota Island)

90 Mark Peat

WD Harry Coyne (Carton House),  (David Hughes (Massereene), Matthew McCarthy, Kelan McDonagh (Lahinch), Mark O’Sullivan (Piltown Driving Range, Tim Rice (Limerick), Colin Starrett (GUI National Academy, Philip Walton

RET Leonard Owens (Royal Dublin), Donal Gleeson (Old Conna)