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Thornton seals biggest career payday

SIMON THORNTON finished with a brace of birdies to claim a share of third place and his biggest-ever pay cheque, E26,000, as hot English prospect Tom Fleetwood, 20, romped to victory in the Kazakhstan Open.

A final-round 70 left Fleetwood on 15-under, two clear of Norway's Knut Borsheim, while the e64,000 first prize in the richest 'regular' event on the Challenge Tour put him well clear at the top of the money list with e107,613 earned. Thornton, who closed with a one-under-par 71 to tie with Germany's Bernd Ritthammer on 12-under, now lies 21st in the Order of Merit (e44,396) with six events remaining. The top 20 at season's end will win their European Tour card for 2012.

Colm Moriarty's final round of 71 earned him e2,840 in a tie for 33rd on two-under, while Niall Kearney pocketed e1,880 for a share of 45th on level-par after his 73 yesterday.

Meanwhile, Ireland's Martina Gillen's closing 71 earned her e1,748 in a share of 29th place on three-under at the inaugural Prague Golf Masters. Gillen finished 10 shots adrift of winner Jade Schaeffer (70) of France.

Irish Independent