McKibbin jets off to play in USA tournaments over Christmas

Tom McKibbin
Tom McKibbin
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Golf star of the future Tom McKibbin flew Stateside this week to take on some of the world’s best young players in two tournaments in Florida.

The 11-year-old is targeting victories at the two-day Premier Junior Tour Championship at Orange Lake Resort, which tees off today (December 20), and the Junior International Championship which begins on Boxing Day.

The events are the culmination of what’s been a remarkable year for the Newtownabbey lad.

He took top spot at the Ulster Championships of the US Kids’ Golf tournament held at Ballyliffin, and the All-Ireland Championships at Portmarnock. He also won the US Kids’ Orlando Tour Championship and the Junior Golfer of the Year title at Holywood Golf Club - home of Rory McIlroy.

McKibbin, coached by Greenacres’ Johnny Foster, was also allowed between the ropes with US Open winner Graeme McDowell at the Irish Open.

Now he says he’s looking forward to rounding off 2014 in style: “Both tournaments are on really good courses and I’m going for a win at both!

“I’ve had a brilliant year again, lots of wins but also lots of really good scores,” Tom told the Times.

“I’ve been really lucky to have spent time with G-Mac and Michael Hoey on the golf course this year and learnt lots.

“I’m still practising as much as I can and even got my first course record this year too. My goal was to finish the season with a handicap of nine, but I ended up going lower and now play off seven.”

Related content: McKibbin sets record at Rory McIlroy course