McKibbin holds off German challenge to win European Open for 1st tour victory

HAMBURG, Germany (AP) — Tom McKibbin held off a German challenge to win the European Open in his debut season on the European tour on Sunday.

The 20-year-old from Northern Ireland started the final round as one of six players tied for the lead at 6 under par and went on to win his first title on the tour by two shots on 9 under overall.

He finished his round of 3-under 70 with birdie on the par-five 18th after missing an eagle putt.

“Pretty amazing, it was a great day,” McKibbin said. “It probably won’t sink in until tomorrow.”

Marcel Siem (71) and Maximilian Kieffer (70), who were both bidding to become the first German in 15 years to win a tour event on home soil, shared second place along with French player Julien Guerrier (72).

Siem and Kieffer’s challenge still underlined the recent resurgence of German players, however. Germans have won six events in the last 10 months on the European tour after previously not having won since 2014.

McKibbin built a two-shot lead after the front nine but bogeys on Nos. 11 and 13 left him briefly level with Siem and Kieffer before he recovered with a birdie on the 15th. Instead of playing it safe, McKibbin took a risk with his second shot on the 18th, playing a draw around a tree to hit the ball close to the pin for the eagle attempt.

McKibbin moved up from the Challenge Tour. He grew up playing at the Holywood Golf Club near Belfast, the same as four-time major winner Rory McIlroy. Until Sunday, his most notable tour achievement was holding the first-round lead at the Singapore Classic in March before tying for 12th.


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