McKibbin hits the accelerator at Porsche European Open

Mark McGowan

Tom McKibbin tees off on the 10th in round two of the Porsche European Open (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Tom McKibbin fired a second-round four-under 69 to storm up the leaderboard at the Porsche European Open at Hamburg’s Green Eagle Golf Club.

Despite the rather unusual setup of a par-73 that features six par-5s, scoring isn’t easy at the Michael designed course, and after his opening one-under 72, McKibbin found himself in 14th place overnight.

By the time he’d get his afternoon second round underway, German Maximilian Kieffer had set the target at six-under, and with the wind scheduled to pick up in the afternoon, it looked unlikely that any of the afternoon starters would catch the man who broke Jimmy Bruen’s course record at Royal County Down that had stood for 76 years. But thanks to birdies at the par-4 third and seventh holes and the par-5 fifth and ninth, the Holywood DP World Tour rookie had moved into the fast lane and drawn within one as he made the halfway turn at -4 for the day.


A pulled approach to the par-4 10th would cost him a stroke, but he’d par his way to the par-5 18th, where two putts from 30 feet would see him reach the clubhouse at -5 and tied for 2nd place.

“I feel like the first two days have been a grind. The course is so difficult and I’ve been feeling a little under the weather as well, which hasn’t helped,” said McKibbin. “So, nice to put two nice rounds together.

“It’s really tough. Some of the tee shots and the length of the holes are crazy long. With the wind we’ve had the first two days it’s been extremely tricky; it definitely is a monster.

“It’s one of those courses where you have to stand up and hit good shots. You know it’s going to be tough. There’s probably not much expectation to go out and make lots of birdies. So, in that sense it’s probably a bit easier, you’re not going for things and playing a little bit more safer golf and trying to keep the big numbers off the card.

“It was nice to get that birdie on the last. I let a couple slip by on the back nine, so it was nice to hole that putt at the last for birdie. I’m enjoying myself out here and taking it week-by-week. How can you not like it?”

John Murphy began his second round at the same time as McKibbin, albeit at the other side of the course, but having battled back strongly to post +1 in yesterday’s opener, he’s start round two with back-to-back bogeys before giving himself a mountain to climb courtesy of a triple-bogey seven at the par-4 13th.

He’d steady the ship afterwards, but the damage was done on the early holes and his seven-over tally would see him miss the cut by three.

McKibbin sits alongside England’s Jordan Smith and Scotland’s David Law in second place, one back of Kieffer, with the six-man group tied fifth a further two strokes adrift.

“The first nine holes I played really well,” Kieffer would say after posting the early target. “Birdie chance on every hole and it could have been a little bit lower if I holed some putts. The back nine played a bit more difficult because the wind was switching. I had some not so good iron shots, managed to make some nice up and downs and unfortunately on eight, I actually didn’t hit that bad of a shot. The wind just switched and gusted up, so I made a double there. But overall, I’m quite happy and it’s a nice position.

“A great atmosphere and the crowd has been very supportive, even after bad shots. It’s been lots of fun and I’m really looking forward to the weekend.”


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