Ireland's McKibbin gets redemption with Sage Valley win
Tom McKibbin (Photo courtesy Sage Valley Junior Invitational)
Tom McKibbin (Photo courtesy Sage Valley Junior Invitational)

After opening with 64, Tom McKibbin made it difficult for anyone else in the Sage Valley Junior Invitational to catch him. Subsequent rounds of 75-71 at the prestigious Sage Valley Golf Club in Graniteville, S.C., gave him the one-shot victory.

McKibbin, an Irishman, entered Sage Valley off a win at the Peter McEvoy Trophy. The 16-year-old was 7 under for 72 holes in that event, played at Copt Heath Golf Club, and won after three holes of sudden death.

McKibbin is member of the class of 2021, and committed to the University of Florida. A year ago at this event, he came in 37th, making this win a good bit of redemption.

“I was terrible,” McKibbin told Golfweek earlier this week in reference to his 2018 performance. “Last year I was a bit shocked by the place – how good it was. Now, this year I know how to play the course a bit better.”

McKibbin finished one shot ahead of Maxwell Moldovan, who also had a 71 in the final round to reach 5 under. Ricky Castillo, the No. 2-ranked player in the Golfweek Junior Rankings finished third at 4 under.

Defending champion Akshay Bhatia opened with 79, and could never get himself back in the tournament. Bhatia, who last week Monday qualified for a Tour event and went on to make the cut, tied for 17th at 6 over.

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ABOUT THE Junior Invitational

The Junior Invitational's mission is to operate the most prestigious junior golf championship in the world—an invitation-only annual event for the top 36 boys and 24 girls from around the globe, hosted by the renowned Sage Valley Golf Club.

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