Tom McKibbin will be disappointed with his weekend performance at the Limpopo Championship as he saved his two worst performances of the tournament for his final two rounds.
After a level-par 72 on Saturday, the Holywood teen followed it up with a two-over 74 in Sunday’s final round to finish in a share of 37th at Euphoria Golf Club in Limpopo, South Africa.
McKibbin never managed to find any scoring form on day four as he slid down the standings, starting at the 10th and recording three bogeys before the turn, and although he would claw back some of the damage with two birdies on his back nine – the front nine – a bogey on the eighth dropped him back.
After two top-seven finishes in his first two events of the Challenge Tour season, the 19-year-old has now backed up a 49th-placed finish with a 37th-placed finish in Limpopo and he has dropped two places in the Race to Mallorca rankings to 15th as the Challenge Tour’s South African swing comes to an end.
At the top, Poland’s Mateusz Gradecki emerged victorious as he carded a superb six-under 66 in his final round to claim his first Challenge Tour victory by a comfortable three-shot margin.
The 27-year-old was bogey-free in his fourth round, six birdies taking him to 19-under-par for the tournament and three strokes clear of second-placed Hennie du Plessis, who finished with a 70 to end the week at 16-under.
“It feels amazing,” said Gradecki. “I’m over the moon and all the emotions are running right now because I can’t believe I have finally got that first win on the Challenge Tour.
“My putting was key to victory today. I know I have been good enough to win tournaments at this level but my putting had to get better. I have been working hard on it over the last few and I’m delighted to see it pay off today.
“This victory means everything to me. I never stopped believing and I knew my time would come eventually.”
Overnight leader Oliver Hundeboll suffered the final day jitters and fell away to finish in a share of fourth at 14-under after a four-over 76 in his final round.