Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Simon Thornton Leads Irish Challenge Into Last Round

The drama of the European Tour final qualifying continued on Wednesday on the Stadium Course at the PGA Catalunya for the last three remaining Irish players with each experiencing the lows and highs at different times during the day.

Former Royal County Down Assistant Simon Thornton blitzed through his first nine holes with 5 birdies making the turn in 31 strokes, which moved him as high as 18th place at one stage.

On the back nine Thornton suffered on two consecutive holes, first with a double bogey on the par 3 fifth hole and then a bogey on the 6th hole to reverse his fortunes. However, Birdies on the 11th, 16th and 18th made for a five under for day and a total of 9 under overall.

Thornton is placed 25th overnight with one round remaining.

Kilkenny’s Gary Murphy poor form continued on the first tee as he started off on the 10th hole with a double bogey. This was then followed by a bogey on the 11th hole. But seven birdies and ten pars on the remaining holes ensured a recovery to finish on 3 under giving him a total of 7 under and tied 34th place overnight.

Niall Kearney of Royal Dublin found less reward on the second last day on the Stadium Course when a 2 over par 72 pushed him down 26 places to tied 50th place. His fortunes contrasted to yesterday’s explosive finish when sixteen pars and two consecutive bogeys on the 9th and 10th holes were his return on the day’s efforts.

The event leader Simon Khan of England went two strokes better than par for a total of 22 under to stretch the lead from his next challenger, fellow countryman Sam Hutsby, on 16 under. Argentina's Clodomiro Carranza was in third place on 15 under.

The most dramatic move off the day was from Charlie Ford who moved down 31 places when a nine over par round for the day placed him in tied 34th place. The Englishman started off in third place when he teed off in the morning on 16 under.

The leading 30 players after tomorrow’s final round (plus those tied for 30th place) will earn Category 11b Membership of The European Tour for 2010, which expires at the end of that season.

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