An emotional Simon Thornton dedicated his maiden European Tour victory to his late father after the Irishman held his nerve to claim the Najeti Hotels et Golfs Open title in a play-off and fittingly on Father’s Day.
Thornton (FJ Sport & StaSof) holed several tricky putts on the back nine but left his best till last on the final hole, as he drained a ten-foot putt to take it to extra holes.
Under the most intense of pressure, the 36 year old rolled it into the cup and clenched his fist in celebration as he signed for a one under par 70.
He kept his cool once again in the play-off, finding the fringe of the green, The Irishman then rolled a perfectly-weighted putt from 30 feet which slid just left of the hole, ensuring his par and most importantly the win.
“It’s so big for me,” said a tearful Thornton. “On father’s day too, he passed away three years ago and it still hurts, but they are happy tears today. This is dedicated to him.”
“I didn’t play particularly well today in perfect conditions but I got up and down when I had to and holed good putts.”
“I didn’t put myself in position very well so I was scrambling but my short game held up. I've been working hard on my short game for a couple of years now so I'm delighted. I changed my putter and my putting technique last week too so it all came together this week.”
“On the last putt – I had been saying to myself all day, if I'm going to make it easy for myself you need to try on every putt and make sure it goes where you want to hit it – so I just picked a line and willed it in and it dropped.”
Thornton’s rise is an incredible story of progression to the top of European golf against all odds, as he was a seven handicap golfer just over a decade ago.
Born in Bradford, England, he moved to Ireland to become an Assistant Professional at Royal County Down Golf Club before rising through the Irish professional ranks to the Challenge Tour and then The European Tour.
“Hopefully this is a stepping stone for me,” he said. “I’ll go home this week now and celebrate, take a week off, and then play in the Irish Open.
“Last year was a huge disappointment on The European Tour after getting there through the Challenge Tour.
“To come here and play like I did is incredible. What happens now with this category is fantastic; it’s mad how things have changed. It’s surreal.”
Mikko Ilonen cruised to a three shot victory at the Nordea Masters, winning his first European Tour title for six years at Bro Hof Slott.
The 33 year old, whose two previous victories came in 2007, the latter in this event, started the day two clear and an imposing display meant the gap was not closed, despite a hugely impressive 12 under weekend total from FJ Apparel Ambassador Bernd Wiesberger (FJ Sport & StaSof)
After turning in 34, Ilonen (FJ ICON & StaSof) then birdied the 11th from 12 feet, before his only set-back with a three-putt bogey at the long 12th. A sublime chip to three feet at the next quickly atoned for that error, and there were no dramas over the closing stretch.
A three under par 69 ensured a 21 under total and three shot victory margin for the Finn.
“It’s pretty special. I could feel a lot of support from Finland, especially today," said Ilonen,
Asked about his bogey at the 12th, he added: “I just got ahead of myself with the first putt. I’ve said for weeks now it doesn’t really bother me if I make a bogey because I know I can make it up and it was the first time I went for the 13th in two.”
Ilonen had been a runner-up in Morocco before finishing second to Brett Rumford in China already this season, and was pleased with the way he dealt with those disappointments.
“To bounce back this soon is really good,” he continued. “It’s really satisfying, but the show I saw in China - I didn’t lose the tournament, Brett won it, so hats off to him."
“Obviously I’ve been waiting for this moment for a few weeks now. People have been expecting me to win but most of all I’ve been expecting myself to win, so to pull it off here after those second places is very satisfying."
Shoe Count:FJ - 63%Nearest Comp - 20%Glove Count:FJ - 48%Nearest Comp - 19%
Former Oklahoma State standout and US Amateur Champion, Peter Uihlein shot a final round of 68 to capture his first professional career victory at the Madeira Islands Open in Santo Da Serra, Portugal. Beginning the day one stroke behind leader Mark Tullo, Ulhlein opened with a bogey falling further behind. However, Uihlein fought back to even par for the front nine and continued to make four birdies in his final eight holes to reach 15 under par. The total gave him a two stroke victory over fellow FJ Staffers, Morten Orum Madsen and Mark Tullo.
Uihlein was ready for any conditions the seaside golf course could conjure in full line FJ Performance Apparel, DryJoys Tour golf shoes and the StaSof golf glove.
Uihlein stated post round, "To do it playing well on the back nine coming down the stretch is sweet. ... I just knuckled down, I guess. It was all putting that did it today; I was just trying to free up and they started to roll in, so it was nice."
Peter also spoke of his decision to join the European Tour instead of testing his game on the American circuit, "You grow up quick out here and that was the main reason I came over...It's been a good process so far and hopefully I can keep going."
This is Peter's third top ten in seven European Tour starts this season. The win also gives Uihlein European Tour Status through the 2014 season.
Madeira Islands Open SHOE COUNT:FJ - 66%Nearest Comp - 18%
Brett Rumford cruised to his second consecutive victory at the Volvo China Open. Rumford's three under par 33, on the front nine, increased his one stroke overnight lead to three. Competitors drew closer over the back nine, until Rumford posted birdies at 12, 13, and 14 to increase his lead to six. Rumford went on to post a four day total of 16 under par to win by four strokes over the competition.
The 35 year old, five time European Tour winner stated post round, "As with last week I’m kind of speechless at the moment." Continuing, “It’s quite surreal – it’s the first time I’ve actually played the week after a win so I’m more than pleased. It’s hard to get my head around it at the moment."
Rumford was cool and comfortable all week in head-to-toe FJ Performance Golf Apparel, FJ ICON, and SciFlex. Brett also became the 31st player to win consecutive titles on The European Tour.
Volvo China Open Shoe Count: FJ - 65%Nearest Comp - 17%Glove Count:FJ - 45%Nearest Comp - 15%
On the Asian Tour, fellow FJ Staffer and FJ Performance Apparel Ambassador Bernd Wiesberger locked down a one stroke victory at the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters. Bernd shot a front nine 34 to climb the to top of the leaderboard.
The Austrian added an eagle at the 12th and a birdie at the 16th to post a four day total of 273 or 15 under par across the nearly 7,400 yard Royale Jakarta Golf Club, the total left him one stroke clear of the competition. This is Bernd's first victory of the 2013 season and sixth international victory overall.
Bernd also wore FJ ICON and StaSof en route to his victory.
Winning is never easy on a professional tour, which Wiesberger understood stating post round, "I was struggling in the beginning after my birdie on one. But at the turn I got a bit of momentum going because I was confident with my ball striking.”
Billy Horschel claimed his first PGA Tour victory by tying the course record eight under par-64 to win the Zurich Classic. The 26-year old began the final day two strokes back of the lead and wasted little time catching the leaders, carding four birdies on the front nine for a 32. Continuing his red hot play, Horschel made consecutive birdies at 10, 11, and 12 to race to the top of the leaderboard.
Dropping a stroke at the 15th, Billy rebounded with a birdie at the following hole to keep the lead. Needing a birdie at the par five final hole to wrap up the victory, Horschel drained a 27 foot birdie bid and exploded into emotion at the realization that he is now a PGA Tour winner.
Horschel relied on FJ ICON MyJoys and StaSof throughout his breakthrough performance.
Shoe CountFJ - 63%Nearest Comp - 17%CLICK HERE TO ENTER FJ WINS, YOU WIN
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Coming off major heartbreak at last year's Open Championship, Adam Scott knows what major pressure feels like on Sunday of a major championship. With that experience in his rear view, Adam Scott put on a performance for the ages winning the 2013 Masters in a playoff over Angel Cabrera. Adam Scott began the day one stroke behind the leaders, at six under par. Opening his final round with a bogey, Adam quickly gained the stroke back with a long left-to-right birdie putt at the third to climb into contention. Parring out on the front, left Scott three strokes behind then leader Cabrera. With ground to make up, Adam narrowly missed the hazard on the heavily protected par five 13th green. A chip and a short putt gave Adam birdie, closing the gap on the leaders. Scott struck again hitting the par five 15th green in two shots and two putting for a birdie, which put him putting in a tie for first place. After just missing birdie bids on 16 and 17, Scott had a downhill 20 foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole of regulation. After much deliberation with his caddy, Scott stood over the putt and brushed it in the low side of the hole, exploding in emotion as it rattled around the bottom of the cup to reach nine under par. Not to be outdone, grizzly veteran and two-time major champion, Angel Cabrera knew a birdie was needed to have any hope of another green jacket. Splitting the fairway, Cabrera then stuck his approach shot to a mere putters' length. Cabrera converted the birdie bid forcing the playoff with Scott. On the first hole of the sudden death playoff, both players launched drives right up the center of the narrow, punishing fairway. Hitting their approach shots, both players hit the green only to spin off one of the steep Augusta National false front's. Cabrera was outside of Scott and missed his birdie chip by inches. Splitting pars, Scott and Cabrera headed to the 10th where Bubba's famous hooked gap wedge occurred the previous year. Hitting the ski sloped fairway in regulation, both players hit brilliant shots into the green leaving makeable birdie putts for the win. Cabrera putted first, facing a slippery right-to-left slider, and missed ever so slightly on the high side giving Adam a putt for the win. Taking his time to find the perfect read Scott stood over his putt drained it to become a Master's Champion.
This is Adam's first Major Championship and first Master's Championship for an Australian born player.
"All of the power is coming from the ground and my connection to the ground is through my shoe, so I believe I need to be in control and connected to the ground throughout my golf swing and I believe the FJ Sport can do that for me." said Adam Scott on why he chooses FJ Sport. Continuing, "All the feel in this game comes through your hands and I choose StaSof because it gives me the feel I am looking for in a golf glove."
FJ WINS, YOU WIN : Click here for your shot to win FJ Sport and StaSof just like Adam Scott used en route to victory.
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(Please visit the site to view this video)
The major of the year is upon us and excitement is stirring for the first tee shot to fly across the hallowed grounds of Augusta National! With countless story-lines abound and many of the games top players in peak form it should prove to be yet another historic major championship.
Furthermore, since this is often considered the beginning of the golf season for many players, we would like to extend you the opportunity to win some new FJ products to begin your season!
How do you enter? Simply add a comment and tell us the FJ player you feel will finish highest on the leaderboard each day of the tournament. You may stand behind a player all week or pick a new leader everyday.
Winners on Thursday and Friday will receive a half dozen gloves of their choosing (PureTouch excluded). The winners on Saturday and Sunday can choose between any single style of DryJoys Tour, FJ Sport, or M:Project.
REMINDER : To enter you must have a community profile. If you do not have one, click here to register for the FJ Community - http://www.footjoy.com/myaccount/register.asp
IMPORTANT: In the event of ties (which we know there will be) one winner will be chosen at random amongst those choosing correctly. Only your original picks will be counted so do your research! FJ PLAYERS ONLY: Click here to view FJ players in order by world ranking.
Furthermore, you can only win one time even if you are correct on multiple days. Deadline for your picks is 9:01 am ET on 04/11/12. Void where prohibited. Open to US residents 18 years or older. For additional rules and regulations click here.
POSTS ALSO GO THROUGH A HUMAN MODERATOR, SO PLEASE BE PATIENT WHEN WAITING FOR YOUR POST TO APPEAR.
Thursday - Hunter Mahan
Friday - Jason Dufner
Saturday - Adam Scott
Sunday - Luke Donald
We will also be throwing one of these signed Bubba Watson GTxtreme gloves for all winners!
On the Web.com Tour, Edward Loar became the first player on a professional tour to win in M:Project from FJ. The lefties 17-under par total was good enough for a two stroke victory over fellow FJ staffer, Morgan Hoffman.
Loar stated post round, "They’re all hard to win especially having to battle the elements today."
Hoffman also spoke volumes of his fellow Oklahoma State alum's play, "He knows his game right now. He’s a great player and a great guy. He knows how to handle it and I congratulate him.”
The win moves Loar to number one on the Web.com Tour money list.,"It’s a great start to the year. I think everyone’s goal is to be No. 1 out here,” said Loar of his new position on tour. This is Loar's second career win on the Web.com Tour.
Chitiamacha Louisiana Open
Shoe Count:FJ - 71%Nearest Comp - 13%Glove Count:FJ - 40%Nearest Comp - 9%
Kevin Streelman (in FJ ICON and SciFlex) tamed the daunting Innisbrook Copperheard course to claim his first PGA Tour title in his 153rd PGA Tour start. Entering the weekend at even par, Streelman played his next 36 holes at 10 under, not dropping a single shot over the stretch. The ten under total was good enough to take home a two stroke victory.
"I just stayed really patient and had a peace about me today...It’s such a tough golf course where you’ve got to pick your battles.” said Streelman of his controlled round.
The win earns Streelman an invitation to this years' Masters Tournament.
Tampa Bay Championship Shoe Count:
FJ - 63%
Nearest Competitor - 21%
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On the European Tour, Thomas Aiken won the Avantha Masters with a final round 67 to win by three strokes. Aiken, in FJ ICON MyJoys, shot all four rounds in the 60's, including a blistering ten under par 62 on Saturday to race to the top of the leaderboard. Aiken carded twenty-one birdies and two eagles versus only two bogeys over the 72 holes of tournament play.
“I’ve been playing very nicely the last four months, not making a lot of mistakes, but just not sinking enough putts,” said Aiken, continuing, “This week a few went in, I hit some better iron shots which gave me a better chance to sink some putts, and I played some phenomenal golf.”
This is Aiken's second European Tour Victory; the win also moves Aiken into the top 100 on the official world golf rankings.
Stacy Lewis has captured the world number one position with a win at the RR Donnelly LPGA Founders Cup. Entering the final round four behind, Lewis in FJ Sport BOA and StaSof, biridied nine of the final 18 holes to run away with a three shot victory.
Lewis's 23 under par total set a tournament record.
This is Stacy's seventh LPGA Tour victory and second of 2013.
Michael Thompson survived the brutal weekend conditions at PGA National to claim the Honda Classic by two strokes over former U.S. Open Champion, Geoff Ogilvy.
Already eight under at the halfway point of the tournament, Thompson looked to be the man to beat over the weekend. Playing at the top of the leaderboard, Thompson carded 4 bogeys and 4 birdies en route to his Saturday even par, 70 tally. The eight under total was good enough to earn Thompson a share of the 54 hole lead with fellow FJ staffer Luke Guthrie.
Playing in the final group for the second straight day, Thompson struck early with an eagle at the par 5 third hole to reach ten under par. Thompson dropped a shot at the next, but answered with a birdie on the following hole. Thompson, in FJ ICON and StaSof, managed to grind out a one under front nine, leaving him at 9 under for the championship.
Continuing his conservative play, Thompson made six straight pars before three putting for bogey at 16 -- a hole Oglivy birdied to get within two of Thompson. Ogilvy birdied 17, as well, to get within one of the Alabama grad, Thompson. Staying poised, Thompson rattled off a birdie on the last to shut the door on his competitors for his first PGA Tour victory.
Honda Classic Shoe Count
FJ - 58%
Closest Competitor - 20%
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On the LPGA Tour, 2012 Player of the Year Stacy Lewis continued her world beating play by winning the HSBC Women's Championship in Singapore. Tied for the lead at the start of the day, Lewis grinded through the first six holes at even par. She then launched a drive at the par five seventh hole leaving her only 200 yards to the stick. in FJ Sport BOA and StaSof, she hit what she considered one the best shots of her career nearly jarring the shot for albatross, she settled for the eagle and control of the tournament. Lewis added another birdie at the ninth to remain at the top of the leaderboard.
Playing with the lead is difficult even for a Player of the Year, "The last four or five holes, I was pretty nervous, I'm not going to lie," Lewis said post round of playing with the lead. Despite late bogeys, she would hold on for a one shot victory. The victory is her sixth on the LPGA Tour.
On the Web.com Tour, former college phenom Patrick Cantlay set the scoring record at the Colombia Championship by seven shots. Cantly's 18 under par total was good enough for a four stroke victory. “It feels really good to win. I felt in control all day," said the former UCLA Bruin, "This sets the year off on the right foot. Even though I’m one of the youngest guys out here, I feel really comfortable out here.”
The win moves Cantlay to the top of the Web.com money list.
Colombia Championship Shoe Count
FJ - 67%
Nearest Competitor - 18%
Los Angeles native, John Merrick won the Northern Trust Open at Historic Riviera Country Club with a par on the second sudden death playoff hole.
Merrick (FJ ICON and StaSof) shot three consecutive rounds under par to sit three strokes behind the 54 hole leader and defending champion, Bill Haas. With Haas struggling over the final 18, the UCLA product, Merrick capitalized making birdies on the tenth and eleventh holes to reach twelve under par. A late bogey let Merrick's competitors back into the tournament before parring in to post eleven under par. At the end of regulation, only one could match his score.
Moving to the 18th hole, both players managed to escape with pars on the first playoff hole. Moving to the famous drivable par four tenth hole, Merrick conservatively laid back to 90 yards leaving a full lob wedge into the green. Merrick played the wedge to 15 feet of the pin and calmly two putted for the win.
When asked what this win meant to Merrick, he was nearly speechless,"I can't put this into words. Growing up as a kid, coming out here, I just wanted to play this tournament."
This is Merrick's first win on the PGA Tour, also earning the 30 year old a spot in this year's Masters Tournament.
Northern Trust Open Shoe Count
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Welshman Jamie Donaldson carded a final round 68 to take home the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship by a single stroke. Donaldson, in FJ ICON and StaSof, posted a smooth 34 on the front nine that included two bookend birdies and seven pars. His unflappable play continued for the first eight holes on the backside until a three putt bogey on the last gave his chasers some hope. They failed to capitalize on their opportunity, giving Donaldson the win.
“It’s pretty surreal really, I’ve played really good all week although I’ve got away with murder up the last" Donaldson stated post round. Continuing "I played the pro-am on Wednesday and thought the course was too difficult and I had no chance,I thought if I could get a decent finish I would be chuffed...To be holding this trophy is just mad."
This is Donaldson's second European Tour victory, his first coming in the Irish Open at Royal Portrush the previous year. The win also moves Donaldson inside the top 30 in the Official World Golf Rankings.
Hometown favorite and fifth ranked player in the world, Adam Scott shot a 5-under 67 to win the Australian Masters at Kingston Heath in Melbourne.
Starting the day one stroke back, Scott wasted little time birdieing the first to draw even with the 54 hole leader. Scott, in FJ Sport and StaSof, then added four more birdies on the front making the turn with a one stroke lead. On the back nine, Scott added eight straight pars before making birdie at the last to finish at 17 under par, four clear of his closest competitor. This is Scott's first win of the 2012 season.
Scott later stated of his win, "This has been a long time coming, This is pretty sweet to be in the gold jacket and hold this trophy that I've been admiring since I was a little kid."
"This has been a long time coming," Scott said. "This is pretty sweet to be in the gold jacket and hold this trophy that I've been admiring since I was a little kid.
World number two, Stacy Lewis wrapped up her third 2012 LGPA victory this past weekend by winning the Navistar LPGA Classic in Pratville, AL. Fresh off a T8 in the British Open and the filming of our new "FJ. The Mark of a Player" commercial spots, Lewis did not let the the travel and extra obligations distract her.
Opening with rounds of 66, 70, and 65 gave Lewis a two shot cushion heading into the final round. Lewis, using FJ LoPro Casual and StaSof, made an early bogey on the second hole but bounced back with birdies at the fifth and consecutive birdies at nine and ten to reach seventeen under par. A late birdie at the par-three sixteenth gave her a two stoke lead with two strokes to play. Stacy parred in giving her the title.
Lewis stated post round, “Winning never gets easier," adding, “I think it might have looked
easy out there but it was hard. Every shot was stressful, and I know on
this golf course with one swing you can make a double pretty easy."
Lewis now has a commanding lead in the Rolex Player of the Year ranking.
Scott Piercy won the Canadian Open with a final round 67 to edge fellow FJ Ambassador Robert Garrigus by one. Piercy began the week with an eight under par 62 to take the early clubhouse lead; but with much work still left to do, he added a pair of 67's over the next two days to remain in contention.
Now on the final day, two strokes behind 54 hole leader Garrigus, Piercy (FJ ICON and StaSof) rattled off four birdies through the first five holes to leap into contention. Piercy cooled towards the middle of his round before adding a chip in birdie at the 15 hole to reach 17 under par. Parring in, Piercy had to wait and watch his competitors try to match his 17 under total.
No player could catch the total, making Piercy the 2012 RBC Canadian Open Champion. This is Piercy's second career win and the victory moves him to 13th on the FedEx Cup leaderboard.
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from 12:01a.m. ET on July 30, 2012- August 2, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. ET.