McKibbin convinced he can win after big learning week in Cape Town

John Craven
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McKibbin convinced he can win after big learning week in Cape Town

Tom McKibbin (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Holywood’s Tom McKibbin says he comes away from his near-miss at the Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open knowing he can win on the Challenge Tour having come so close on Sunday at Royal Cape Golf Club.

Having slept on a two-shot lead heading into the final round, the 19-year old struggled out the gate with two bogeys in his first four-holes before grinding to a one-over par 73.

It left McKibbin three shots shy of South African JC Ritchie’s winning score but far from discouraged after failing to fire on Sunday, McKibbin feels empowered having come so close to the winning line without quite crossing it.

“I take away that I’m good enough to win at this level, it was just a few things didn’t go my way today,” he reflected.

“He [Ritchie] started off very strong, I think he birdied four of his first nine holes which is impressive. I’ll learn a few things today and try and come back even better. I’m looking forward to the next one.

“That was it really, onto the next one. Good overall week and I enjoyed it.”

In the bigger picture, McKibbin, who only has limited status on the Challenge Tour and was playing on an invite, banks more than 10,000 early season Order of Merit points with more opportunity to come at this week’s Jonsson Workwear Open in Durban.

A serial winner as he raced through the junior ranks in his amateur days, McKibbin picked up a first pro win last month in America on the Minor League Golf Tour and although a first Challenge Tour win would’ve been a big step up from that, it’s still a milestone ticked off regardless, his best Challenge Tour finish, a share of third and a solid platform from which to build.

“I’m looking forward to next week now. I definitely have a lot of confidence, especially going out today and being close enough,” he added.

“It was tricky. I actually thought I played pretty good, just a couple of par-three tee shots the wind switched as I hit it from downwind to into the wind and ended up missing it short, so that was pretty much it.”

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