Tom McKibbin: Northern Ireland golfer hits hole-in-one at South African Open

Tom McKibbin
Tom McKibbin is competing in his second DP Tour event
-8 T Lawrence (SA); -7 R Fisher (Eng), J Fahrbring (Swe); -6 M Schmid (Ger), S Jamieson (Sco), JJ Senekal (SA); -5 T McKibbin (NI), L Brown (SA), S Tarrio (Spa), E Molinari (Ita)
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Northern Ireland teenager Tom McKibbin struck a hole-in-one in only his second event on the DP World Tour at the South African Open.

Holywood native McKibbin, who is from the same County Down town as world number one Rory McIlroy, holed an ace on the par-three 11th hole.

The 19-year-old is tied for seventh after carding a five-under-par 67 in his opening round in Johannesburg.

South Africa’s Thriston Lawrence leads his home event on eight-under.

England’s Ross Fisher is one shot behind, along with Sweden’s Jens Fahrbring, who put in a late charge to move into contention.

McKibbin, who only got his DP World Tour card in November, hit his hole-in-one on the 224-yard 11th as his tee shot rolled home after landing on the green.

“My caddy said just go right at it,” said McKibbin.

“I went right at it and it didn’t leave the flag. I couldn’t see it go in so I just listened for the crowd. A roar went up and I knew it was in from there.

“I’ve had five [hole-in-ones] and I’ve only seen one of them go in. They have all been uphill and blind, but it is always nice to add another one.”

The teenager started with two bogeys in his opening three holes but responded with four birdies, along with his ace, to start in a strong manner.

As a 15-year-old, McKibbin famously holed an ace on his way to winning the boys’ title at the inaugural Major Champions Invitational for junior golfers. He was playing for McIlroy’s team in the tournament, which was backed by Nick Faldo in Florida.

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