Bounce-back round as McKibbin goes low at Castlerock

Mark McGowan

Tom McKibbin (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Tom McKibbin put on a clinic for the home fans as he fired a best-of-the-day 65 at Castlerock to move from well outside the cutline and safely into the weekend at the ISPS HANDA World Invitational.

After a scrappy opening effort that saw the European Open winner from Holywood fail to make a single birdie at Galgorm in the event co-sanctioned by the LPGA, DP World and LET Tours and shared with Castlerock over rounds one and two, the 20-year-old had nothing to lose when he teed it up for the second round on the Derry coast.

“I saw them [his fans] this morning. My dad showed me a picture of them. It’s nice to have some support like this,” McKibbin said.


“A lot of people came out and supported me today, which was the same as yesterday. Nice to have that out there today. And I was sort of grinding to make the cut.”

Starting on the back nine, McKibbin ended the birdie drought early, and like the proverbial buses, they arrived in droves. Three-in-a-row from 11 through 13, a bogey at 14 spoiled the run a little, but two more birdies back-to-back on 15 and 16 brought him to -4 for the day at the turn.

The front side would be a little less spectacular, but two birdies and no bogeys on the way home saw him reach the clubhouse at +2 for the tournament after shooting a six-under 65, the lowest of the day and with only Englishman Richard Mansell coming close.

“I think I just went out there today and tried to go for everything. I mean, I was down near last so it couldn’t get any worse, really. So I just sort of went for everything, went for every par four that was reachable and went for all the par fives. And luckily it just paid off.

“I definitely didn’t fancy a bit of links, but I’ve practiced enough the last couple of weeks in the wind. It’s been quite windy here. I’ve been hitting the ball nicely enough. So to go out there today and play like I was, was really nice.

“I’m looking forward to it a lot. I think yesterday I learned loads about a course that I’ve played loads. It’s very difficult in the wind, especially the way the rough is set up. I think I’ll go out there tomorrow, try and do a few things better than I did yesterday and should be a nice weekend.”

Strong winds throughout the day, combined with a course at Galgorm that was playing particularly long meant that scoring was high throughout and Jonathan Caldwell, Max Kennedy and David Carey all struggled on the Ballymena course and saw their weekend hopes come to an end.

A birdie at the last gave Niall Kearney a glimmer of hope but it looks like it will be too little, too late for the Dubliner as he sits just outside the cutline at +4.

Dermot McElroy, and Ruaidhri McGee both had chances to squeeze through, but starting out in the afternoon wave, difficult finished to their respective rounds all saw them miss out, as did fellow Castlerock competitors John-Ross Galbraith, Damien McGrane and John Murphy.

Englishman Daniel Brown remains the man to catch after an incredible performance for the second day running saw him reach -11 (-4 at Galgorm in round two) meaning he’s shot the lowest round on each of the two courses over the opening two rounds.

He leads Alex Fitzpatrick and Angle Hidalgo by six strokes, with just 18 players in red figures in the men’s division.


Stay ahead of the game. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest Irish Golfer news straight to your inbox!

More News

Leave a comment

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy & Terms of Service apply.