Tom McKibbin is hoping his performance this week at the English Trophy presented by Rocket Yard Sports Marketing can be the benchmark heading into next month’s Road to Mallorca Grand Final.
The Holywood teenager finished in a share of fourth place in the final regular Challenge Tour event of the season at Frilford Heath which means he will head into the Grand Final in 15th place on the Challenge Tour rankings – with the top-20 earning DP World Tour cards for next season.
The 19-year-old shot a best of the week seven-under 65 to finish four shots off the playoff on -18 and after five weeks on the road he will rest and refresh before the biggest week of his career.
“I’m not sure what I need to do in Mallorca. Just go and play as best I can,” said McKibbin. “Obviously Mallorca is a big event and it just depends on how it goes with how top heavy it is. I just want to play how I played this week.
“I’m really looking forward to it. It will be my first limited field event where there are only 45 guys so I’m really looking forward to it, it should be nice and a really good week.”
“I’ll chill out for a few days and then get right back at it and tidy up a few things. This is my fifth week in a row so I haven’t had much opportunity for practice of sorts, so a few things are a little untidy.”
McKibbin was projected to drop one spot to 16th on the Road to Mallorca so his final round of 65 might prove the difference in a few weeks time.
After two birdies and a bogey in his first four holes it was four birdies in five holes – including three in a row from the 8th – that ignited his Sunday as he moved into the fringes of contention.
A dropped shot on 11 was followed by three birdies in his last five holes and he was pleased to take advantage of the vulnerable course.
“I was very good today. I took advantage of the pretty easy scoring conditions, with not much wind and the course was playing pretty nice so I’m delighted with the week.
“You know you have to go out and make birdies I think if you’re not four or five-under you’re going to lose position and I think you put a bit more pressure on yourself going out there so that probably does make it a little bit harder.”