McKibbin a bright spark as lightning hampers Joburg Open

Ronan MacNamara
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Tom McKibbin (Photo by Neil Baynes/Getty Images)

The Joburg Open can’t catch a break.

Last year it was turned into a Covid induced farce after it was reduced to 36 holes and most of the European names withdrew in order to escape any potential travel restrictions.

Now, Covid free and looking to get the 2023 season off to a smooth start, dangerous thunderstorms have wreaked havoc in Johannesburg.

But that hasn’t stopped Tom McKibbin from battling on and either side of the afternoon suspension he was impressive as he maintained his position in the top-20.

Tom McKibbin didn’t let the thunderstorm delay stifle him as he returned to the course to eventually complete his second round of the Joburg Open and he did so with two birdies to sign for a bogey-free 67 to move to within six of the lead.

McKibbin is on seven-under-par and in solo 11th place in his first event of his DP World Tour rookie season.

When the horn sounded to bring play to a halt yesterday evening the Holywood native had birdied the tenth and the first and birdies at the third and sixth upon his return pushed him into the mix.

It’ll be a bite to eat and another warm up for the 19-year-old before a quick turnaround into round three.

“I feel good. Two solid round played so far, I’m pretty pleased. It was tricky this morning, the wind sort of got up a bit so I am very pleased with it all.

“Just keep doing the same, keep the ball in play. I feel I have hit the ball where I’ve had to so just try and do that and card a couple more nice rounds.”

McKibbin did well to keep a blemish-free card with the greens proving treacherous at times with the severe slopes. While he would have wanted more birdies, he did well to hole out and clean up for pars on occasion.

“The greens are difficult, they are really, really good but once you sort of get 30-feet away the slopes are pretty crazy in some spots so trying to get the speed right is so hard.

“Luckily I managed to hole a few putts coming back but they’re a nightmare.”

Kinsale’s John Murphy was alongside McKibbin heading into round two after an opening 68 but he slumped to a disappointing five-over 76 and missed the halfway cut.

Scoring

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