Our men on the ground take you behind the scenes of the Apulia San Domenico Grand Final, the final event of the 2011 Challenge Tour season…
Thornton’s little bundle of joy
Genial Irishman Simon Thornton received some great news on Thursday night when his wife Ciara got in touch to tell him he was now the proud father of a bouncing baby boy. Any other week and Thornton might have caught the first flight home to Northern Ireland to be at his wife’s side, but with so much at stake this week, he reluctantly chose to stay in Puglia for the remaining two days of a tournament which will decide his immediate future. The arrival of the Thorntons’ first child was scheduled to clash with last year’s Madeira Islands Open, but fortunately Ciara was able to hold out and Katie was duly delivered the following week. The new arrival is yet to be named, but if Thornton were to triumph at San Domenico Golf, perhaps Dominic might be appropriate?!
Pete gets a pizza the action
There was a double cause for celebration in the Fleetwood family yesterday, as Tommy delivered the perfect present for his Dad and caddie Pete with a stunning display the day after Fleetwood Senior’s birthday. Tommy treated Pete to a pizza on Wednesday night, then added a tasty topping of his own with a devastating display on Thursday to take charge of the season finale. Tommy also bought Pete a bell, which he can use to request a cuppa as he reclines on his favourite chair in front of the TV. It’s heartwarming to know that, however famous his son might become, to Pete he will always be his personal bell boy!
Mighty Meitinger makes his mark
There was a strange occurrence at approximately 8.45am on Friday morning, as Nicolas Meitinger opened with a birdie for the second successive day. Not strange because Meitinger is anything other than a very fine player, but because the first at San Domenico Golf is an absolute beast. With the hole measuring just one yard shy of the full 500, and invariably playing into the wind, the green is only reachable in two for the longest of long hitters. Thus, birdies are like gold dust and, clearly buoyed by his heroic feats, Meitinger duly cashed in with two more on the second and third holes on Thursday morning. Meitinger is like Samson in reverse...after shaving off his long locks, he seems to have got stronger.
Hair today, gone tomorrow
As well as bringing you all the news from the tournament, one of the press officers’ other tasks is to co-ordinate the players’ headshots for the website and media guides. In theory a straightforward task, but in reality often a little trickier. Like most sportsmen golfers can be a slightly precious bunch, and because caps are strictly forbidden for the photo the toilets at San Domenico Golf often become temporary hair salons, with some players sculpting their locks into weird and sometimes wonderful shapes. Unbeknownst to Steven Tiley, the photoshoot had been pushed back 24 hours from its traditional Thursday morning slot, meaning that his efforts to ensure he looked his best with a finely coiffured mane went to waste. But fortunately he remembered to bring his hair wax with him to the club on Friday morning, and the stylish results will be coming to a website near you soon.