Wednesday 25 April 2018

Simon Thornton off to flying start at Spanish Open

Simon Thornton
Simon Thornton

Phil Casey

Ireland's Simon Thornton got off to a blistering start alongside pre-tournament favourite Sergio Garcia at the Spanish Open today.

Fresh from his third place in the Players Championship at Sawgrass on Sunday, Garcia was as short as 4/1 to win the title in Girona, 12 years after his previous success.

And the world number seven was quickly into a share of the early lead with two birdies and an eagle in his opening six holes at PGA de Catalunya.

Starting from the 10th, Garcia birdied the 12th and 13th before dropping a shot on the next, but the 34-year-old bounced back in style with an eagle three on the par-five 15th.

At three under par Garcia shared top spot on the leaderboard with American Peter Uihlein, Sweden's Robert Karlsson, Ireland's Simon Thornton and Scotland's Richie Ramsay, with English trio Graeme Storm, Kenneth Ferrie and Anthony Wall a shot behind.

Garcia's fellow Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal had asked players, caddies and spectators to wear black as a mark of respect for caddie Iain McGregor, who died on Sunday while working for Alastair Forsyth in the Madeira Islands Open.

And tournament organisers had annunced there would be a minute's silence at 1540 local time in honour of Zimbabwean McGregor, who suffered a fatal heart-attack on the ninth hole at Santo da Serra.

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