Kinsale’s John Murphy capped off a great year last week when he announced that he would be heading to the US in the second half of 2017 on a golf scholarship. Later this year Murphy will head for Kentucky to take up a place with the Cardinals at the University of Louisville. Murphy will join Galway’s Devin Morley who started in Louisville in 2016, and Assistant Coach Aaron O’Callaghan who is in his third year coaching at the division one college.
The announcement of Murphy’s move to the US had been one of his options over the past few months, and while there are exciting times ahead, John can look back at a great 2016. “I have so many memories from 2016 that I will cherish forever” said Murphy. “There are some stand-out memories from 2016, such as winning the European Boys’ D2 championships in Czech Republic and retaining the Kerry Boys’ championship, however, nothing quite compared to the feeling when I held the winning putt in Munster Boys. I felt like it was my last real chance to win a boys event, and to birdie the last two holes to win it was really special. It was such a great feeling and I’ll never forget my parents’ reaction when I was walking off the 18th. It made me really happy to see them so overwhelmed. 2016 really wouldn’t have been the same without that win in Dromoland.” The win cemented Murphy’s place on the Irish Boys team and in September he helped Ireland to a win in the Division 2 European Boys Team Championships, that win in Czech Republic meant that Ireland gained promotion back into Division 1.
In addition to a busy golf schedule, John also completed his Leaving Cert last year and he’s currently studying in Maynooth University. He’s part of the Paddy Harrington golf programme in Maynooth and has a busy schedule planned for the first part of the year. “I’m finished my exams on the 10th of January” explained the first year business student, “so after that I’m going to spend three weeks practicing and working on a few things in my game. I hope to play the Portuguese Amateur in February, which would kick off the season, but I’m not sure yet. It’s awkward making the transition to men’s golf, because I’m not entirely sure what events I will get into, but I’m just taking it one day at a time at the moment. For now, all I can focus on is improving my handicap and world ranking. Also, in February, I plan to take a visit to the University of Louisville.” John has worked hard on his game, working with Ian Stafford in Kinsale and with the coaching programmes provided by Munster Golf and the Golfing Union of Ireland. Having dropped from a handicap of five to scratch over the past two years, Murphy has seen handsome dividends from his efforts. Although 2016 was the year that brought the wins, the hard work on swing changes took place the previous year. “There was no big change made last winter, I was just trying to improve what I had” explained John. “The biggest changes were made in the winter of 2014/15. I worked with a few different coaches to improve different parts of my game, and I can’t thank these coaches enough. These coaches include Ian Stafford, Paul Kiely and Fred Twomey. Golf is a complicated game and I am grateful that I have access to such high-profile coaches. As I have the chance, I would just like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who has supported me over the last few years. All the support means so much and I can’t express enough how grateful I am for the support of my friends, family and the people of Kinsale.”
Murphy will continue to work with a top level coaching team in the US, with Douglas man Aaron O’Callaghan part of the coaching team Louisville. After spending a few years in college in Southeastern Louisanna, O’Callaghan qualified as a PGA Professional in Baton Rouge CC before moving to Louisville as Assistant Coach in 2014. O’Callaghan came through a very similar pathway as Murphy so he’ll be ideally positioned to assist the Kinsale teenager as he progresses to the next stage is his golfing development.