Rory McIlroy invites 13-year-old Antrim golfer to play in Irish Open pro-am

Rory McIlroy invites 13-year-old Antrim golfer to play in Irish Open pro-am

A teenager from the North, Tom McKibbin, has been invited to play alongside Rory McIlroy in the pro-am ahead of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open on May 18.

McKibbin, 13, took up golf just before his ninth birthday and won the Junior Honda Classic in Florida earlier this year. In August 2015 he won the World Junior Championships aged 12. McIlroy won the same event at the age of nine.

"Tom McKibbin is a great talent," said McIlroy, whose foundation is hosting the Irish Open for the second year. "I played a round with Tom in Florida recently and he is the real deal.

"At only 13 years of age I think he has a remarkable golfing future ahead of him. Having seen him play a couple of times now, he impresses me more each time. And I can think of no better place to showcase his talents than at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at the K Club."

McKibbin, who is from County Antrim, said: "I met Rory while I was in Dubai last October and we got chatting while we were both practising. When I won the Honda Classic in Florida in January, Rory sent me a message and invited me to play golf with him.

"I have to thank Rory for inviting me to play in the pro-am at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. Not only do I get a day off school, but I get to play alongside one of the best golfers in the world! It's getting close now and I'm pretty excited. I've been practising as often as possible."

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