Electric McKibbin hits the front with 62 in Cape Town

John Craven

Tom McKibbin (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Holywood’s Tom McKibbin turned up the heat on his Challenge Tour rivals on day two of the Cape Town Open, racing to the top of the leaderboard with a stunning 10-birdie 62 at Royal Cape Golf Club.

Looking to back up an encouraging opening 68 at the other course in play this week, Rondebosch, McKibbin hit the ground running and then some, firing seven straight birdies out the gate before making the turn in 29 and adding three more gains to reach the clubhouse in 62.

All up, he holds the clubhouse lead at 14-under par without a bogey on his card over the first two days. Fair to say, the Northern Irish teenager was pleased with his work to the halfway point of the tournament.

“It was really good,” McKibbin laughed. “I just went out there trying to shoot another good round like yesterday and I started off shooting seven birdies in a row which was very surprising, especially around here with how tight it is but it was a very special day.”

There was no great secret to his success, just strong course management and admittedly little wind compared to the start of the week.

“I don’t know,” he said of the magic formula. “I’ve just picked good targets off the tee and into the greens and haven’t really been too silly with anything. I just tried to plot my way around the course and it seemed to work out!

“But it was a little bit easier today. There wasn’t as much wind as yesterday or even the practice rounds so I guess I took advantage of the conditions.”

A constant aid by his side in what could yet prove a formidable partnership is former tour player turned caddie, Chris Selfridge who’s taken the 19-year old’s bag this year.

“Chris has been great so he has,” McKibbin said.

“He’s been caddying for me this year and been really good helping me with targets and stuff like that and just committing to every shot, picking good clubs and he’s been a great help for me.”

Playing on invite this week, McKibbin was hoping to take advantage and although we’re only halfway through the tournament, he’s delighted with his work so far.

“For sure. It’s great to play a few down here on invite and I just thought I’d make the most of it, try and come down and play well and luckily the first two rounds I have. It’s been really good,” he said.

As for his plans for the weekend, McKibbin said with a chuckle:

“Hopefully a bit more of the same would be nice, but I’ll chill out this afternoon and start again tomorrow.”

Also safely through to the weekend were Royal Dublin’s Niall Kearney after a one-under 71 at Royal Cape to move up to six-under and Greystones golfer Paul Dunne, who could only add a one-over 73 at Rondebosch to his opening 66 to sit at five-under.

However, there was disappointment for Cormac Sharvin and John Murphy, who both faced anxious waits after finishing at three-under, which would prove to be one shot over the four-under cut mark and ruled them out of the weekend.

Both players added two-under 70s at Rondebosch to opening 71s at Royal Cape to miss out by one, while Donabate man Gavin Moynihan was over-par for the second consecutive day as a three-over 75 at Royal Cape dropped him to five-over.
Behind McKibbin, local favourite Lombard had nine birdies and two bogeys on his way to a seven-under 65 at Rondebosch to move up to 11-under, where he is joined by Cantero Gutierrez, who had an eagle, four birdies and two bogeys in a 68.
France’s Félix Mory tied McKibbin’s low round of the day with an eagle and eight birdies in his own 62 at Rondebosch to sit 10-under alongside fellow countryman Gary Stal.

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