Career best DPWT finish for McKibbin as Strydom roars to title

Ronan MacNamara

Tom McKibbin (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Tom McKibbin secured the best finish of his DP World Tour career with a share of twelfth place at the Singapore Classic.

McKibbin finished on thirteen-under, six shots adrift of South Africa’s Okie Strydom who ambushed the field to pip Sami Valimaki by one.

McKibbin teed off just two shots off the pace and started well with a brace of opening birdies. However, like on Saturday things fizzled out a little after a promising start.

Bogeys on seven and eleven saw the Holywood native slip out of contention and a birdie on 13 wasn’t enough to claw his way back into the top-10.

It was a one-under 71 for the 20-year-old and a thirteen-under total for his fifth top-20 in eight starts and he can take lots of lessons away from his first weekend in contention during his rookie season on the DP World Tour.

For Strydom, it’s his second DP World Tour win of the season in his 49th appearance and third South African victory this term after Tristan Lawrence.

The South African who is now the first multiple winner on the 2023 Race to Dubai after also winning the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December, shot a blistering nine-under 63 to steal the title from the hands of Finland’s Valimaki.

In a remarkable front nine where he birdied all the odd numbered holes to turn in 30 and thrust himself into the mix, Strydom birdied four of his last six holes including the 18th to post a target at -19 which Valimaki couldn’t match over the last five holes.

The Springbok becomes the first South African winner of a DP World Tour event held in Singapore and will move to a career-high 142nd in the OWGR while entering the top-5 on the Race to Dubai.

Having won so recently, Strydom was able to draw on the experience of his maiden DP World Tour win as he powered over the line here.

“It’s a mindset that’s changing at the moment. When you’ve been in that situation before and you know you can do it again.

“I was thinking about not being here this week. Hitting it so badly. My coach flew in and my wife said to me, ‘listen, maybe this is your week’. And look what happened, it’s my week.”

He added: “I don’t know if there are any emotions at the moment. I was thinking after Ras Al Khaimah to go home and practice because the swing’s not there. I spoke to my coach, who flew my assistant coach in, we worked hard to get the swing back to where it was. I’m still speechless how it happened this week.

“The first thing is you’ve got to go low on the first couple of holes if you want to challenge. Luckily I did that, I was five under through nine and saw some of the guys were still on 17 and 18. I knew there was still a little bit of work needed.

“Back nine came in, stayed positive. Hit it close, a couple of putts I missed but some great putts I hit as well. The chip on 18 was phenomenal. It was one that is either perfect and coming back or it’s in the pond. I played it exactly how I wanted to. Just glad it came out to about half a foot and I knocked it in.”

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