Tom McKibbin posted a closing 70 to celebrate his first event of the New Year with sixth place finish in the Boy’s Junior Orange Bowl Championship at Coral Cables in Florida.
McKibbin (15) birdied two of his closing four holes for an eventual one-under four-round total on the Donald Ross designed Biltmore course just to the south of Miami having posted earlier rounds of 73, 73 and 67
The Holywood golfer finished 11 shots behind 18-year old Italian Andrea Romano who sensationally eagled the par-5 18th to close with a two-under par 69 and win by four shots at 12-under par.
Romano is becoming one of Italy’s rising amateurs having won the 2017 England Boys Open Amateur Stroke-Play and also captured later in 2017 the Italian Under-18 National Amateur. Last year he captured the France Under-18 National Amateur a week before adding the 2018 Italian International Amateur.
With Romano winning the 2019 Junior Orange Bowl he joins Tiger Woods (1991) and compatriots Marco Durante (1979) and current European Tour player Renato Paratore (2013) as winners of the prestigious event.
Spaniard Jose Louis Ballester produced a timely lowest round of all 52 competitors over the four days to also eagle the last in a six-under par 65 and snare second place on eight-under par. Ballester was also runner-up last August in the R&A sanctioned Boys Amateur Championship at Portstewart and Royal Portursh.