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Rising star McKibbin set for European Tour debut at inaugural Shot Clock Masters

May 18, 2018

Golfing prodigy Tom McKibbin is set to make his European Tour debut after accepting an invitation to compete in the innovative new Shot Clock Masters tournament at Diamond Country Club in Altzenbrugg, near Vienna, on June 7-10, 2018.

The 15 year old from Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland, is a member of Holywood Golf Club – the home club of his hero, four-time Major Champion Rory McIlroy – and is set to tee it up in the first of its kind event that will see every shot timed as part of the European Tour’s bid to combat slow play.

Rising star McKibbin set for European Tour debut at inaugural Shot Clock Masters, © Getty Images

The Belfast Royal Academy pupil has caught the attention of the golfing world with a string of international victories, most recently at the 2018 Junior Honda Classic (U18) and The Faldo Major Champions Invitational, both in the United States.

McKibbin became one of the youngest players ever to tee it up on the European Challenge Tour in 2016, aged just 13 years and 222 days, when he played in the Northern Ireland Open.

He has amassed 16 local, national and international wins so far, with his first title coming at the US Kids World Championship in 2015, aged just 12 years old.

McKibbin has experienced life on the European Tour in the past, playing alongside McIlroy in the Pro-Am at the 2016 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation, and is looking forward to making his tournament debut.

He 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.

“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.”

The 2018 Shot Clock Masters will be the first tournament in professional golf to use a shot clock on every shot.

The European Tour experimented with a shot clock on one hole at the inaugural GolfSixes in 2017 – a move which proved popular with both players and fans. In a marked difference to the GolfSixes model however, this tournament will embrace the Tour’s official timing policy (similar to policies used across the world of professional golf) over 72 holes, with an intent to showcase a European Tour event played at a more compelling pace.

In accordance with this official policy, each player in the field will have 50 seconds for a first to play approach shot (including par 3 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.

Players will incur a one-shot penalty for each bad time incurred and these will be shown as a red card against their name on the leaderboard.

Each player will have the right to call two time extensions during a round which will permit them twice the usually allotted time to play the shot.

In 2016 the European Tour pledged to speed up the game of golf, introducing a new pace of play policy which included monitoring penalties, handing referees additional powers to target slow players. This policy had an immediate effect, leading to a visible reduction in round times, and the additional development in Austria could have an even more dramatic impact.

It is hoped the move will cut round times by around 45 minutes, reducing three-ball timings to approximately four hours, and two-balls to around three hours 15 minutes.




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