HomeGolfTom McKibbin and Conor Purcell seal top-ten finishes

Tom McKibbin and Conor Purcell seal top-ten finishes

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Holywood star McKibbin (21) recorded his third top 10 of the season when he closed with a five-under 65 to finish seventh in the ISPS Handa Championship at Taiheiyo Club. He has moved to 20th in the Race to Dubai and into position to win one of 10 PGA Tour cards.

McKibbin finished six strokes behind Yuto Katsuragawa, who continued a historic season for Japanese players on the DP World Tour by carding a course record-equalling seven-under 63 to claim a three-shot victory over Sweden’s Sebastian Soderberg.

“I have been practising a lot to stand on the big stage,” said Katsuragawa, the third Japanese player to win in the past seven months.

The emergence of new international stars partly explains the diminishing Irish presence on the DP World Tour.

But that can improve as Purcell is on track for promotion to the main tour after he closed with a three-under 69 to clinch his second successive top-10 finish in the UAE Challenge at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club in Abu Dhabi.

The former Walker Cup star (26) made four birdies, as well as an eagle from over 100 feet at the 15th, to finish tied for seventh on 10-under, four shots behind Denmark’s Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen.

As a result, Purcell jumped seven places to 17th in the Road to Mallorca rankings, with the top 20 awarded DP World Tour cards at the end of the season.

“It’s been a solid two weeks out here,” Purcell said. “It was nice to string a few rounds together after struggling a little bit on weekends from time to time, throwing in a bad round either on Saturday or Sunday.

“It was nice to keep pushing up the leaderboard, especially this week, and it’s always nice to climb up the rankings and carry forward some nice momentum for the European swing that’s coming up.”

Neergaard-Petersen secured his second Challenge Tour title in three events when he fired seven birdies in a five-under 67 to win by a shot from South Africa’s Wilco Nienaber on 14-under and extend his lead at the top of the rankings.

Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy shot 70 to finish tied 25th on six-under, with Gary Hurley a shot further back in 36th after a 72.

At the LET’s Investec SA Women’s Open, Olivia Mehaffey closed with a one-under 71 to finish tied for 44th on four-over behind the winner, Belgium’s Manon De Roey.

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