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.”
As a shining sophomore on the PGA Tour, many peers and fans felt it only a matter of time before 23-year-old Harris English won on the PGA Tour. English met their expectations on Sunday by winning the FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee.
Beginning the final day one stroke behind the leader, Harris struggled through the front nine, posting a 2 over par total. The former University of Georgia standout fought back with two early back nine birdies to reach level par for the day. Harris, then, added birdies at 16 and 17 to close out his back nine 32 and win by two strokes over fellow FJ staffer Scott Stallings (FJ ICON and Pure Touch Limited).
English relied on DryJoys Tour and Pure Touch Limited during his championship winning round.
This is Harris English's first PGA Tour win, which also earned the Georgia native an invitation to next year's Masters® Tournament.
Fed Ex St.Jude Classic Shoe Count
FJ - 60%
Nearest Competitor - 20%
Fed Ex St.Jude Classic Glove Count
FJ - 42%
CLICK HERE FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN DRYJOYS TOUR AND PURE TOUCH LIMITED JUST LIKE HARRIS ENGLISH USED EN ROUTE TO VICTORY!
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.
Last week’s winner Matteo Manassero (DryJoys Tour & StaSof) put in another admirable performance finishing tied fourth. The Italian carded an ill-timed double bogey on the 18th green on Saturday, however, which left him with too much to do in his final round.
Shoe Count:FJ - 63%Nearest Comp - 20%Glove Count:FJ - 48%Nearest Comp - 19%
Italy's Matteo Manassero became the youngest ever winner of the BMW PGA Championship as he claimed his fourth European Tour title at the age of 20 on the fourth hole of a sudden-death play-off at the magical Wentworth club.
It what was a testing week due to the ever changing weather conditions, the Italian (DryJoys Tour and StaSof) held strong scoring 4, 5, 4, and 4 in the play-off to take the title.
Overnight leader Alejandro Cañizares (Contour and SciFlex) missed from 18 feet on the last for an eagle to join the play-off and Lee Westwood (FJ ICON and StaSof) held a two shot lead after birdies on the second, third and fourth, but the Worksop born professional couldn’t keep his momentum playing the back nine and he finished equal ninth.
Manassero who looked very comfortable on the range at the start of the week shot rounds of 69, 71, 69 and 69 – a total of 10 under par and at the age 20 years and 37 days, beats the previous record of Bernard Gallacher, who was 20 years and 97 days when he won in 1969.
"I feel unbelievable, really emotional," The Italian announced after his dramatic win.
"It's been an amazing week. I have always felt something really special about this place and this tournament. Everything has come together this week. I managed to play well and managed to stay in contention after a tough day on Friday and pulled it off with this play-off."
"I am the happiest man in the world right now."
Shoe Count:FJ - 55%Nearest Comp. - 21%
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%