At just 19 years of age, Holywood’s Tom McKibbin will play full-time on the DP World Tour next season after finishing in the top-20 on the Challenge Tour’s Road to Mallorca.
The Galgorm touring pro came into the final round of the Challenge Tour’s Grand Final at Club de Golf Alcanada on the bubble in 17th on the Order of Merit knowing that a bad round could spell disaster.
But instead McKibbin produced a sensational performance on Sunday in Mallorca, seven birdies and one bogey in a six-under 66 taking him up to six-under-par for the tournament and earning him a share of sixth place.
Rather than worrying about his future, the teenager comfortably finished inside the top-20 on the Road to Mallorca in 10th and now has his playing rights a tier higher secured for 2023.
“It was a lovely way to finish and secure my DP World Tour card,” said McKibbin.
“It’s going to be very exciting and having watched so much TV coverage of the DP World Tour, to now be playing on the Tour next year will be pretty special.
“The course was pretty tricky today in spots and to shoot six-under the last day was pretty nice. My game was pretty solid while I hit it nice off the tees and into the greens, and then I putted well. So, everything was just really, really tidy, and I took advantage of the par-5s and took every chance when I got it.
“I am very, very pleased as the goal at the start of the year was to secure my Tour card, so I can tick that off and it’s pretty special.”
Indeed, for a while it looked like he might even challenge for the week’s title as well as he posted the early clubhouse lead at six-under, but that would eventually be bettered as England’s Nathan Kimsey made it a day to remember by winning not just the Grand Final but the Road to Mallorca too.
The 29-year-old closed with a two-under 70 to claim a one-shot victory at nine-under-par, holding off England’s John Parry and South Africa’s Bryce Easton, both of whom had the consolation of starting outside the top-20 but also earning their DP World Tour cards through their tied-second place finishes.
Meanwhile, Kinsale’s John Murphy rounded off his Challenge Tour season at 44th in the Road to Mallorca as a wild round featuring an eagle, three birdies, six bogeys and a double-bogey saw him sign for a 75 that dropped him back to seven-over-par and a 39th-placed finish.