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McKibbin (13) is one for the future as Sordet steps up his NI Open title defence

By Paul Kelly

Published 30/07/2016

Rising star: Tom McKibbin (13) battles the pros
Rising star: Tom McKibbin (13) battles the pros

Tom McKibbin missed the cut at the Tayto NI Open but he walked away with his head held high after carding a second round 76 at Galgorm Castle.

The 13-year-old, who received an invite into the tournament courtesy of Niall Horan's Modest Golf Management company, relished the chance to mix it with the professionals.

"I was two under through seven holes today, made a couple of mistakes, and had a bad finish on the last but apart from that I was happy," said Tom who ended the tournament on 14 over par.

"I liked the walk up the 18th but didn't enjoy my golf on the last [he finished with a seven].

"I don't mind people watching, it feels weird when lots of people clap, but I'm sure I will get used to it."

At the other end of the leaderboard, Dutchman Wil Besseling leads the way, following up an opening round 68 with a 65. On nine under par he is one shot ahead of New Zealander, Ryan Fox and a pair of Englishmen, Paul Maddy and Ben Stow.

The leading Irish contenders are Colm Moriarty, Gary Hurley and Damien McGrane on six under par. That's the same mark as tournament ambassador Michael Hoey, who still has three holes of his second round remaining.

The tournament is still playing catch-up after torrential rain on Thursday led to a six hour delay.

Defending champion Clement Sordet was one of the 78 players who were forced to come back to complete their opening rounds on Friday before filing out again to play round two.

"I teed off yesterday at seven (pm) and played nine holes this morning. I had 35 minutes between rounds. It was hard to go back out there but I did a pretty good job," said Sordet.

The 23-year-old played mistake free golf collecting seven birdies to end the day on seven under par, two shots behind Besseling.

"It feels pretty good to have seven birdies and see the ball going in the hole. I hit the ball really well and made some great up and downs," he added.

"It was pretty windy today and hard to score, but I hit some really good shots into the right spots on the green.

"I was even par after my first round and now I'm close to the lead. I'm trying not to think about defending but it would be nice to win it two years in a row."

Tournament officials are confident that everything will be back on track by the end of play on Saturday. The 51 players who didn't manage to complete round two on Friday will wrap things up this morning before the cut

Selected scores from Galgorm Castle: Jared Payne (Ulster), Andrew Trimble (Ulster), Robbie Henshaw (Connacht), Luke Marshall (Ulster), Keith Earls (Munster), Paddy Jackson (Ulster), Conor Murray (Munster); Jamie Heaslip (Leinster), Jordi Murphy (Leinster), CJ Stander (Munster), Devin Toner (Leinster), Iain Henderson (Ulster), Mike Ross (Leinster), Rory Best (Ulster, captain), Jack McGrath (Leinster)

Replacements: Sean Cronin (Leinster), Finlay Bealham (Connacht), Tadhg Furlong (Leinster), Ultan Dillane (Connacht), Rhys Ruddock (Leinster), Kieran Marmion (Connacht), Ian Madigan (Leinster), Craig Gilroy (Ulster)

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