Simon Thornton became the fourth Irishman to win on the Ivobank PGA EuroPro Tour with a four stroke victory at the Bovey Castle Championship in Devon.
Scores of 70 and 68 left him two under going into the final round, where he played alongside fellow countryman Gregory Bowden. It looked like Bowden (Hermitage GC) would claim the title holding the lead going into the 12th hole but lost one drive, found the water with a second tee shot and finding the bunker with his third – eventually getting down in 11.
Nerves could have got the better of Thornton after he double bogeyed 15 to drop to four under but he composed himself with a birdie-birdie finish to record a final round 66 and claim the £10,000 first prize with a score of 204, six under for the tournament.
“I had a great finish after going back and forth with Greg,” said Thornton. “I started to hit it solid down the back and I think that nerves started to get to Greg a little bit. I felt for him on the 12th but I took advantage with a birdie which was important.”
“I didn’t really feel pressure going down the final few holes, the key really is to commit to your shots, and as long as you do that you will be fine.”
The 31 year-old – born in Huddersfield but living in Ireland for 12 years now – made it four events out of five for the Irishmen on Tour and reckons the players from the Emerald Isle will have to make things a bit more interesting.
“There might be a bit more competition after my victory here,” said the Royal County Down GC man. “We might have to get together and have a little wager! But there are plenty of good players on the EuroPro Tour and you are playing proper tournament golf which can only aid your game – it’s a great learning curve.”
Martin Le Mesurier and Noel Fox were tied at two under to tie for second spot with a score of 208, while Lorne Kelly joined Bowden at level par for the tournament (210) tying for fourth spot.
Things didn’t pan out for overnight leader Chris Hanson who dropped five shots on the front nine to end his hopes of victory after leading at three under following the opening rounds, going onto shoot 76 to finish three over for the tournament.
There is no rest for the players who now head to Stoke by Nayland next week for the sixth tournament on the Ivobank PGA EuroPro Tour.
Full final scores are available at www.europrotour.com