Harrington impressed by McKibbin and backs him for “quick” win on Tour

Ronan MacNamara
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Padraig Harrington (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

Pádraig Harrington believes Tom McKibbin won’t have to wait too long for a maiden DP World Tour title having been impressed by the 19-year-old’s performances in 2022.

The Newtownabbey teenager has had an impressive start to his rookie season on the DP World Tour with two top-20 finishes in as many starts on the South African swing having earned his playing rights via the Challenge Tour last season in his first full season as a professional.

Harrington expressed his delight at seeing John Murphy and Gary Hurley graduate to the DP World Tour also but singled out McKibbin for praise and earmarked him for a win sooner rather than later in the latest ringing endorsement of his talents.

“He’ll win quick,” Harrington told Independent.ie. “I’d say he’ll win before any of the others, and it could be pretty soon.

“He’s a great ball striker, but he was solid all year on the Challenge Tour and looked very comfortable. He didn’t just have a few good results, he was up there nearly every week.”

Harrington, who won four times on the Senior Tour last term, knows what it’s like to burst into the spotlight having won on just his tenth European Tour start at the 1996 Peugeot Open.

McKibbin has long been tipped for stardom ever since he was a child, growing up in the same golf club as Rory McIlroy in Holywood.

The teenager turns 20 on Monday week and has already had his name up in lights this season with a hole in one on the opening day of the South African Open Championship en route to a T15 finish.

The Northern Irishman also boasts an impressive record in South Africa with successive top-7 finishes back in February which proved the catalyst for his card winning Challenge Tour season.

At the time of writing, McKibbin is four-under through eleven holes of his opening round at the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

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