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Padraig Harrington Sees Big Things In Belfast Youngster's Future

Padraig Harrington Sees Big Things In Belfast Youngster's Future
By Eoin Harrington Updated
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19-year-old Belfast native Tom McKibbin has been making waves with some impressive performances since starting out on the DP World Tour, and Padraig Harrington believes big things are in store for the youngster.

Three-time major winner Harrington spoke in the wake of McKibbin's spectacular hole-in-one at the South African Open, at only his second ever pro event.

McKibbin is on the card for this weekend's Alfred Dunhill Championship, again in South Africa, and Harrington was full of praise for the teenager ahead of his first round.

Tom McKibbin: Padraig Harrington thinks Irishman can win quick

Tom McKibbin continues to settle in on the DP World Tour, showing remarkable ability for a man of his age.

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Padraig Harrington effused about McKibbin ahead of the Belfast man's third event on the tour, saying that he would win before "any of the other" young prospects on the tour:

He’ll win quick. I’d say he’ll win before any of the others, and it could be pretty soon.

He’s a great ball striker, but he was solid all year on the Challenge Tour and looked very comfortable. He didn’t just have a few good results, he was up there nearly every week.

McKibbin did indeed impress on last year's Challenge Tour, earning his DP World Tour qualification through strong performances at several events across the year.

Holywood in County Down is home to Rory McIlroy already and, with McKibbin also hailing from the Belfast suburb, it looks as though the town may soon have two golfing superstars on its hands. A vote of confidence from two-time Open champion Padraig Harrington is certainly a good omen.

McKibbin - ranked 318th in the world - opened his round at the Alfred Dunhill Championship with two birdies in his opening nine holes, in a strong start to the weekend. He will go up against some big names this weekend, including South African major winners Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen, and Ernie Els.

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He will hope to go even better than last week's South African Open, which saw him finish an impressive T15, eight shots off winner Thriston Lawrence.

SEE ALSO: Rory McIlroy Reveals A Rocky Period In his Relationship With Shane Lowry

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