Wednesday 17 January 2018

Thornton's hectic night

SIMON THORNTON was violently ill overnight, got only a couple of hours' sleep and then woke up to discover wife Ciara had just given birth to a baby boy, their second child, back home in Ireland, WRITES KARL MacGINTY.

Yet Thornton (34) had to step straight off this emotional roller-coaster and resume the fight for his family's future in the third round of the Challenge Tour's Apulia San Domenico grand finale. The Co Down resident posted a level-par 71 to keep alive his hopes of remaining in the top 20 on the Challenge Tour rankings and clinch a European Tour card.

However, Thornton, who started the week in 15th on the money list, still has work to do. After completing 54 holes in Puglia in a share of 30th place on five-under, 12 shots behind leader Andrea Pavan of Italy, the Irishman had slipped to 20th in the projected money list.

"I didn't hear about the birth until this morning but at about 8.0 last night I was just feeling horrendous, so I was up all night," Thornton explained.

The final looks like a battle between home hero Pavan (22) and England's Tommy Fleetwood.

•MICHAEL HOEY has won European Tour Shot of the Month for September with his stunning effort into 16 on Sunday at the Dunhill Links Championship which helped clinch a famous victory over Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell.

Hoey (32) was level with McIlroy when he stopped his 180-yard approach just inches from the pin to set up a birdie which moved him one shot clear.

The shot even caught the attention of US Open champion McIlroy, who was stood on the 17th tee, and it was just the fillip Hoey needed.

He finished par, birdie to wrap up the biggest win of his career so far.

Irish Independent

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