McKibbin: Harrington praise is “pretty cool”

Ronan MacNamara
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Tom McKibbin (Image: Getty Images)

Tom McKibbin admits hearing praise from somebody like Pádraig Harrington is “pretty cool” as he embarks on his rookie season on the DP World Tour.

McKibbin has caught the eye in his first events in South Africa with two top-20 finishes and a hole in one so far and Harrington has already singled him out as a potential star turn of the future and has backed the 19-year-old to win ‘quick.’

Harrington knows all too well about bursting onto the scene having won in just his tenth European Tour start at the 1996 Peugeot Open.

By those standards, McKibbin still has time to live up to the three-time major champion’s backing and he was encouraged by Harrington’s words when he found out post round after an opening 68 at the Alfred Dunhill Championship which had him 8th, three behind Dean Burmester.

“That’s pretty cool,” chuckled the Holywood native. “It’s really cool to hear that from someone like him. If I could do that it would be pretty special but we will see how it goes.”

McKibbin has taken to professional golf well since turning pro at the age of 18. In his first full season the Newtownabbey man earned his DP World Tour card after finishing 15th on the Challenge Tour Order of Merit which included successive top-7 finishes in South Africa in February.

Set to turn 20 next Monday he is joined on the DP World Tour by Gary Hurley and John Murphy but he looks a cut above the rest according to Harrington.

“He’ll win quick,” Harrington told Independent.ie. “I’d say he’ll win before any of the others, and it could be pretty soon.

“He’s a great ball striker, but he was solid all year on the Challenge Tour and looked very comfortable. He didn’t just have a few good results, he was up there nearly every week.”

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