Tom McKibbin moves right into contention at Qatar Masters after 68

Northern Ireland golfer just one shot off the pace on a packed leaderboard

Northern Ireland’s Tom McKibbin moved right into contention at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters on Saturday after a strong back nine left him one shot off the leaders ahead of the final round.

The 21-year-old carded a four-under 68 to get to nine under, making four birdies on the back nine that included gains on the 16th and 18th.

It left him in a share of fourth position with Scotland’s Ewen Ferguson (69) and Norway’s Niklas Nørgaard (66).

Norway’s Rasmus Højgaard, Japan’s Rikuya Hoshino and Ugo Coussaud of France hold a one-shot advantage on a log-jammed leaderboard.


Seven players held the lead in some capacity during a rollercoaster Saturday at Doha Golf Club before the leading trio nudged ahead to 10 under par with 18 holes to play.

Overnight leader Haydn Barron briefly increased his total to 10 under after opening with a birdie before his challenge quickly tailed off thanks to three dropped shots and a triple bogey on his front nine.

The chasing pack closed in as Barron slipped down to seven under, with playing partner Hoshino, Højgaard, Ferguson and Paul Waring all moving into the five-strong leading group.

Hoshino birdied the seventh hole to climb to the top at eight under, but Ferguson was on the charge further ahead as he moved in front for the first time on his own.

Ferguson had to wait until the seventh to pick up his first shot of the day, but a run of six birdies in eight holes saw him alone at nine under after 14 holes.

Coussaud moved to that mark on the back of a hat-trick of birdies from the eighth, only for Hoshino to surge ahead at 10 under following gains at the ninth and 10th.

Hoshino immediately handed a shot back at the next, just as Coussaud climbed into a two-shot lead at 11 under thanks to successive birdies from the 12th.

Coussaud’s lead was cut by one when he bogeyed the 15th and Hojgaard quickly joined him at the summit with a birdie at the penultimate hole.

Hoshino made it a three-way lead at the top by copying the Dane’s score at the 17th before all the trio each parred the closing hole.

Højgaard, who has been not dropped a shot in his last 33 holes, said: “Most part of the round was very solid. I felt I was pretty good out of the tee box, I gave myself some good chances and rolled a few in.

“The last few holes there were a couple of poor swings, but managed to keep it bogey-free so that’s a positive.”