High, gusting winds led to shots being scattered with regularity, making the performances of Rook and former England Boys’ Order of Merit winner Thornton, plus the third co-leader James Cooper (Cumberwell Park), all the more admirable.
Thornton actually stood four under playing 17, but his second was lost when it was blown into a bush.
Wike Ridge’s Ben Firth was in a share of fifth place on day one of the final England Golf Order of Merit event of the season after a 74, while Carris Trophy winner Barclay Brown (Hallamshire) was tied for ninth on 76.
Yorkshire county player Josh Morton (Huddersfield) signed for a 79, two better than newly-crowned White Rose match play champion Max Berrisford, of Skipton. Jack Leversidge, who helped Abbeydale to win the Yorkshire Team Championship in the summer, carded 82.
Conditions led to play being suspended for around half an hour with balls moving on greens.
Alwoodley, which next year will stage the English amateur stroke play championship, the Brabazon Trophy, welcome visitors and will be offering an autumn green fee rate of £55 in November and December. For more information contact the club on 0113 268 1680 or email [email protected]