McKibbin seven shots off the pace at KLM Open

Mark McGowan

Tom McKibbin (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Mark McGowan

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Tom McKibbin is going to have to do it the hard way if he’s to wrap up an Open Championship invitation at this week’s KLM Open in the Netherlands as he finds himself seven shots off the pace.

Starting round two on the 10th after a fast finish on day one saw him complete his first 18 holes in -2, a bogey on 12 was not the ideal start and he’s par the the rest of the back nine and the first two on the front. His first birdie arrived on three and he quickly got into the groove, adding two more back-to-back on five and six.

However, a missed opportunity at the par-5 eighth was followed by a closing bogey and he sits in a tie for 31st at the halfway point.

To make matters worse, with two Open Championship spots up for grabs, just four of the 30 players ahead of him on the leaderboard are already exempt for Royal Troon, meaning the Holywood man will have to go low over the weekend if he’s to push his way into contention for either his second DP World Tour win or one of the two invitations.

Unfortunately, Gary Hurley won’t be joining him after the Waterford man suffered a rough finish, carding a triple bogey eight on his 17th hole and following with a bogey where two closing pars would’ve seen him make the cut on the number.

Mikko Korhonen took an unconventional route to a 68 as he moved into the solo lead heading into the weekend.

The Finn made a hole-in-one en route to a share of the lead on day one and he added every score from two to seven in round two to move to ten under.

That left him one shot clear of American Sean Crocker, who carded a 67, and two ahead of English duo Ross Fisher and James Morrison.

Korhonen is a two-time winner on the DP World Tour but his appearance at last month’s Soudal Open was his first in 12 months and this is just the third event of his comeback from a spell out.

A holed nine iron from 137 yards was the highlight of a second round that also contained six birdies, two bogeys and a triple, and the 43-year-old was happy to be back on Tour.

“I had a little adventure in the long stuff and then I holed a nine iron so lots of things happened,” he said afterwards.

“I didn’t really expect anything. It’s just my third event coming out of a year’s medical so not much expectation but I’m happy to be here and happy to play well.

“When you get relaxed and you’re in the moment you don’t see anything else. The golf course is nice, I like it. It’s rewarding good drives. There’s a couple of blind shots so you have to really commit to the tee-shots. It’s linksy but it’s not running that fast yet.”

Dane Rasmus Højgaard matched the lowest round of the day with a 65 to sit at seven under alongside England’s Matthew Baldwin, Scot Ewen Ferguson, American Nicolo Galletti, Italian Matteo Manassero and German Matti Schmid.


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