Northern Ireland teenager Tom McKibbin invited to Shot Clock Masters in Austria

By Andy Charles

Image: Tom McKibbin is teeing up at the Shot Clock Masters in Austria next month

Northern Ireland teen prodigy Tom McKibbin will make his European Tour debut at the Shot Clock Masters in Austria next month.

The 15-year-old is a member of the same Holywood Golf Club that is the home club of his golfing hero, Rory McIlroy, and he has already amassed 16 wins in local, national and international competition.

McKibbin was successful most recently at the 2018 Junior Honda Classic (U18) and The Faldo Major Champions Invitational, both in the United States, and played alongside McIlroy in the pro-am before the 2016 Irish Open.

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He was also the youngest player to participate in a European Challenge Tour event, playing in the Northern Ireland Open in 2016 at the age of 13 years and 222 days.

McKibbin said: "It is very exciting to play on the European Tour for the first time, and especially in the first ever tournament like this.

"Teeing it up at Diamond Country Club will be an amazing experience, but I'm also looking forward to seeing the shot clock technology and how the whole event works.

"I'm in favour of fast play and I consider myself to be a fast player so I think the idea behind the Shot Clock Masters could be great for the future of golf.

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"I'm grateful to the European Tour and the promoters of the Shot Clock Masters for giving me this opportunity. It is my dream to play on the European Tour in the future and I can't wait to experience the environment and take the chance to learn as much as I can from the players in Austria."

Image: Players will be on the clock on every shot at Diamond Golf Club next month

The event, which takes place from June 7-10, will be the first to implement a shot clock on every shot.

Each player in the field will have 50 seconds for a first to play approach shot (including par-three tee shot), chip or putt and 40 seconds for a tee shot on a par 4 or par 5 or second or third to play approach shot, chip or putt.

They will also have the chance to call two-time extensions per round, doubling the time allowed to play a shot.

The European Tour hopes round times will be cut by 45 minutes and is part of a pledge to speed up the game of golf after multiple complaints of slow play.

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