It’s another week of significant opportunity for the rising stars of the Challenge Tour and none more so than Tom McKibbin who arrives for the inaugural Jonsson Workwear Open off the back of his career-best finish on the Tour.
The 19-year old went 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 last Sunday at Royal Cape Golf Club.
Having slept on a two-shot lead heading into the final round, McKibbin closed with a 73, missing out on the title by three strokes but encouraged by what he saw ahead of a new test and another chance this week at Durban Country Club and Mount Edgecombe Country Club, the two courses on this week’s rotation.
“A lot of positives from last week,” McKibbin said. “Being in with a chance to win was nice. Hopefully I’ll try and do that more this year which will be good but last week was great, lots of positives and a really good week after not having played much competitive golf over winter.
“To start out that way gives me a good bit of confidence, especially after all the practice over winter, it gives me a lot of confidence going forward. I just want to play good golf, to keep getting better every week and just see where that leads me.
“I’ve obviously a few big goals but I’ll keep going week by week and see what happens.”
The rookie will be no stranger to visiting new venues as the season progresses but McKibbin likes what he sees so far in South Africa, albeit knowing that accuracy will be key to any chance of returning to contention at the first time of asking in Durban.
“I’ve never been here before but first impressions are it’s nice,” he said. “The course looks pretty tricky, pretty tight, a lot of bushes so I think if you hit errant tee shots, you’ll be hitting off the tee again,” McKibbin laughed.
“But it looks good. Looks like it could get pretty windy around here which will make it challenging so it should be a good test of golf.”
Whatever happens this week, McKibbin is already living the dream, taking a step by step approach to a fledgling career bursting with promise.
“I’m enjoying it a lot,” he says. “Obviously last week and stuff like that makes it a bit more enjoyable but it’s been awesome.
“The weather’s been perfect here, just to get out of the cold and the bad weather [at home] and be able to compete early in the year is great and the opportunities are great so overall it’s been really good.”
Play gets underway in Durban on Thursday with McKibbin joined in the field by Robin Dawson, John Murphy, Niall Kearney, Paul Dunne, Cormac Sharvin, Gavin Moynihan and Richard O’Donovan.
- Full tee-times HERE