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Northern Ireland teen sensation joins Rory McIlroy's team for Major Champions event


By Adam McKendry

Northern Ireland's teen golfing sensation Tom McKibbin will compete in Nick Faldo's inaugural Major Champions Invitational next month in Florida.

The 14-year-old will be part of one of 18 teams comprised of the top junior golfers from around the world taking part at the Faldo-designed Bella Collina in Montverde, just outside Orlando, on March 12-14.

McKibbin will be representing a side sponsored by fellow Holywood man Rory McIlroy at the event, from which all proceeds will go to the Faldo Trust for Tomorrow's Children.

The tournament is an extension of the ever-popular Faldo Series, which has an annual event at Lough Erne Golf Resort in Enniskillen, and will be hosted by Faldo himself.

Each competing team will be sponsored by a current or former Major champion, with the likes of McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose all sponsoring teams.

There are two posthumous sponsors as two teams will be named in the memories of Spanish legend Seve Ballesteros and three-time Major champion Payne Stewart.

Not only will the young golfers compete against each other, but they will spend the entire week learning from and being mentored by top professionals.

McKibbin revealed he would be competing on Twitter, commenting: "Super excited to be representing Team @McIlroyRory at the inaugural @masterchampions Invitational next month. Thank you for the amazing opportunity and experience ahead!"

The Newtownabbey golfer, who plays off scratch, added: "Thanks for the opportunity @NickFaldo006".

• June's US Open will have a new two-hole play-off in the event of a tied finish after the USGA abandoned the 18-hole, next-day format.

The move brings the tournament into line with the body's other events the US Women's Open and both Senior Opens.

"We know how important it is to see play conclude on the Sunday of a Major and to award the trophy to the champion," said USGA chief executive officer/executive director Mike Davis.

"After receiving input from a variety of constituents, including players, fans, volunteers, officials and our broadcast partners, it clearly came across as something everyone would benefit from.

"Two holes will allow a player to recover from any single mistake, and at the same time, provide a memorable, and perhaps dramatic, experience for all involved."

If the players are still tied after their two extra holes the play-off moves to sudden death until a winner is decided.

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