McKibbin momentum halted as darkness descends in Abu Dhabi

Bernie McGuire
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Tom McKibbin (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

By Bernie McGuire at Yas Links, Abu Dhabi.

Tour rookie Tom McKibbin left the course in darkness and has to return early Saturday morning (Local time) in darkness to complete his closing two holes in the second round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

McKibbin teed-off in the last three-ball on day two at 3.35pm (Local time) Friday and had the feeling they would not finish.

That was the scenario with the threesome called from the Yas Links host course around 6pm (Local time).

A tired-looking McKibbin was sharing 43rd place at three-under and two shots inside the projected one-under cut.

And if he does make the cut in the record-breaking $US9m event, it will be the assurance of five pay cheques in as many events after the Galgorm attached Holywood golfer played in four rounds of the four 2022/23 wraparound events he contested prior to Christmas.

“The game was solid enough for the 16 holes we managed to play but then I was thinking when we teed-off this afternoon that darkness may beat us, and it did,” he said.

“The wind was getting-up near the end there and making the course very tricky.

“The good thing is that I am driving the ball nice and that’s been the key these two days while I’ve holed a few long putts which is always nice.”

Though it was birdie putts at the first and second holes of a respective six feet and four feet that got McKibbin’s round off to a great start.

He moved to three-under for both his round and the tournament in birdieing the seventh hole for a second day running ahead of nine straight pars, including a two-footer in the near darkness at the par-4 16th.

“It’s been a long day so I’m feeling a bit tired, and now just going to get a bite to eat and it’s an early night for me,” he said.

It means setting his alarm around 5am ahead of a 7.30am tee-off before officials can confirm the third-round draw.

The Italian duo of Francesco Molinari (67) and his younger compatriot Guido Migliozzi (69) head the field at 10-under par.

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