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Dublin: 6 °C Sunday 17 November, 2019
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13-year-old Tom McKibbin to make pro debut at NI Open after invite from Niall Horan

The One Direction singer’s new golf management company are hosting this week’s event.

McKibbin during today's Pro-Am.
McKibbin during today's Pro-Am.
Image: Presseye/Matt Mackey/INPHO

TEENAGE GOLFING SENSATION Tom McKibbin will make his professional debut tomorrow when he tees-off at the Tayto Northern Ireland Open.

The 13-year-old, who last year won the Junior World Championships, received an invite to play at the European Challenge Tour event by the golf management company owned by Niall Horan.

McKibbin only took up the sport four years ago but has already shown a prodigious talent for the game and will get his first taste of professional tournament golf at Galgorm Castle in Ballymena from Thursday.

The teenager from Antrim played a practice round with tournament ambassador Michael Hoey yesterday and will play alongside Walker Cup player Gavin Moynihan and David Rawluk.

“The invite was a total surprise but I don’t think I will be nervous,” McKibbin told BBC Northern Ireland.

Niall Horan Horan played in today's Pro-Am. Source: Presseye/Matt Mackey/INPHO

“I’ll be using it as a learning experience. I don’t have any expectations. The course is a lot longer than what I’m used to and the rough is also a lot deeper.

“I can’t get to five of the par-fours in two shots so my chipping and putting is going to need to be on but I’m still really looking forward to the week.”

Horan’s management company, ‘Modest! Golf’, is the official partner of the Northern Ireland open and the One Direction singer played in the tournament’s Pro-Am event earlier today.

Niall Horan along with his team Modest! Golf are staging this week's Northern Ireland Open. Source: Presseye/Matt Mackey/INPHO

Five-time European Tour winner Hoey heads the field which contains some of Ireland, and Europe’s, most exciting young golfers.

McKibbin, who will have his father on the bag for him this week, begins his first round at 12.30pm tomorrow.

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Ryan Bailey

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