Thornton off to flyer
SIMON THORNTON'S hopes of landing a life-changing double were boosted yesterday as he surged into a share of fifth place on four-under with a fine first-round 67 at the European Challenge Tour's Apulia Domenico Grand Final.
Thornton's wife, Ciara, is due to give birth to their second child on Saturday and the Newcastle, Co Down, man could mark the occasion by securing full European Tour playing credentials if he finishes in the top-half of the 45-man field in Italy.
The top 20 on the final Challenge Tour rankings receive Tour cards but Thornton (above), currently 15th in the money list, will force his way into the elite top-10 if he maintains the form he showed yesterday and contends for victory in Apulia on Saturday.
Two-under through the turn, he joined the leaders on five-under with birdies at 11, 13 and 15 before a sole bogey at 16 left Thornton (34) just one shot off the pace. "It's sets me up nicely," he said. "I'm confident I can play like that for the next three days.
"I played well, I only missed a couple of greens all day. I played really well off the tee, gave myself plenty of chances and I could have had a few more birdies early on.