Golf-mad Tom McKibbin jetted off to America this week in pursuit of silverware as he competes in a series of high-profile tournaments in Florida against some of the world’s best junior golfers
The nine-year-old Newtownabbey lad, who is aiming to qualify for the 2013 World Championships, followed in the footsteps of his hero Rory McIlroy when he teed off at the PGA National course in Palm Beach at the Junior Honda Classic at the weekend. He will also take part in the 2012 US Kids Golf Holiday Classic on December 21-22.
During his trip he will train under the watchful eye renowned PGA golf instructor Don Law at the Port St Lucie PGA Golf Academy.
Tom’s meteoric rise over the past 12 months has seen him claim the Irish Kids 2012 World Championship Qualifiers title in Dublin before competing at the 2012 World Championships in the US.
The Ben Madigan pupil also went toe-to-toe with Europe’s best young golfers from at the Kids’ Golf European Championships at Gullane Golf Club, Scotland in June.
Tom has been selected as a member of the Golf Union of Ireland’s Ulster Branch coaching panel and is coached by Johnny Foster, the current coach of European Tour professional Gareth Maybin from Ballyclare.
“Tom is a fun young person to coach and what stands out is how much he enjoys the game and wants to learn. These are key components of any good student and with the promise he is showing hopefully he can go on and enjoy the game for a long time,” said Foster.
Tom’s dad, Robin McKibbin, added: “Tom is a talented young golfer for his age and has a real passion for the sport and is always out practising on the golf course or at the driving range.
“The last twelve months has seen him successfully compete in variety of competitions across the UK, Ireland and America and we are very proud of what he has achieved.
“He loves playing golf and does it with a smile on his face and as long as he continues to enjoy it, we will continue to support him as best we can. Principal of Ben Madigan Preparatory School, Mrs McCaig, said: “All staff and students at Ben Madigan are particularly proud of Tom’s achievements as he is a model student and modest young boy.
“We wish him all the best with his upcoming tournaments and we look forward to following his blossoming golf career over the next few years.”