At the Shot Clock Masters, it was Holywood’s Tom McKibbin who showed no respect for time, making everyone in attendance feel their age as the teenage wonderkid awed crowds on his European Tour debut in Austria.
Tom McKibbin / Image from Getty Images
The 15-year-old walked back into the clubhouse on air after firing a one-under-par 71, good enough for a share of 39th place after day one amongst the big boys.
McKibbin, who recently won the Junior Honda Classic and the Doral Publix Jr Classic Orangebowl Championship Stateside is no stranger to the public eye following his exploits in the game already, but this progress might even have caught him by surprise.
After bogeying the second hole, the youngster picked up four birdies to the turn and but for a double-bogey at the 11th, he was accomplished beyond his years in everything he did in a remarkable debut round.
His score was matched by Dublin’s Gavin Moynihan who goes in search of a first cut made in individual competition as a fully-fledged member of the European Tour.
The Island golfer, who won the Golf Sixes event alongside good friend Paul Dunne, will be hoping for more of the same tomorrow to ensure some long-overdue weekend action.
Rosapenna’s Ruaidhri McGee has work to do though after an opening one-over-par round of 73 left him in a tie 69thafter day one drew to a close.
Oscar Lengden leads the way at the end of round one of the inaugural buzzer-beating competition at Diamond Country Club near Vienna.
The European Tour was once again breaking new ground, with every player in the field on the clock for every shot as part of the Tour’s bid to combat slow play.
The Swede signed for a six-under-par round of 66 to top the leaderboard on a day in which the fastest round came in at 55 minutes under the average time across the European Tour in 2018 for 18 holes in three balls.
The group of Nico Geyger, Henric Sturehed and Kristian Krogh Johannessen posted a round time of three hours and 53 minutes, compared with the 2018 season average of four hours and 48 minutes.
Five groups completed their rounds in under four hours, as the average for the day came in at four hours and 13 minutes, with no penalties imposed for bad times.
The 21-time European Tour winner Miguel Ángel Jiménez of Spain was one of those players who got around Diamond Country Club in less than four hours, on the way to a round of 67.
“It’s been very interesting,” noted the loveable Spaniard. “It’s very important that you are ready to play, if not it will catch you. That’s the good thing, you are not wasting any time. You see that it takes less than four hours to play 18 holes.
“After nine holes we were under two hours, and then of course under four hours after 18 and that was even waiting to play on some holes. It would be nice to have some more time to talk a few more words to your caddie, but it’s nice, it’s definitely a positive experience.
“I feel great, from my last round last week I’m just continuing in the same mood. I’m making good shots, making birdies, and I enjoyed it very much.”
He was joined at five-under-par and just one shot off the lead by Sweden’s Peter Hanson and Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland, who shot back-to-back eagles on the 15th and 16th holes. Young Scottish duo Bradley Neil and Conor Syme are part of a group of six players one shot further back at four under.