Simon Thornton produced a brilliant opening round of eight under 61 to take control of proceedings at the PGA North of Ireland Championship presented by Scullion Management Consultants at St Patrick’s GC.
The RCD man spreadeagled the field at the 54 hole event, finishing the day with a seven shot lead over nearest rival, defending champion Damien Mooney (Ballyliffin).
The 38-year-old Bradford born golfer made a blistering start to his round rattling off five birdies on the bounce as he went to the turn in seven under par 28.
At that stage, Simon must have considered the possibility of breaking 60 but he failed to maintain his early momentum on the back nine and came home in a rather prosaic one under par 33.
A cut was made at the end of the opening 18 holes with 24 players making it through to the final 36 holes on Friday.
Amongst those to sneak in on the +5 mark were, Jerry Scullion (Kilkeel GC) who recently won the Ulster PGA Championship and St Patrick’s professional Robbie Hutton.