Murphy wins St Andrew’s Links Trophy

John Murphy Links Trophy 2018John Murphy gave himself an early birthday present today when he won the St Andrew’s Links Trophy, and there was a little bit of a surprise too as he drained a 25 foot putt on first play-off hole to claim his first major title outside of Ireland.  Murphy shot 66 on the Old Course yesterday to hold the 36 hole lead.  A 71 this morning had him tied for the lead with one more round on the Old Course to come.  John started well, birdies on the 3rd and 4th saw him jump into a two shot lead.   He held that lead at the turn but when he dropped a shot on the 13th there was a three way tie for the lead.  East of Ireland winner Christo Lamprecht was leading but a  on the road hole took him out of contention.  Germany’s Jannik de Bruyn shot a 68 to finish on -9.  Murphy parred 14 to 17 and he parred the closing hole despite shaving the hole with his birdie putt.  The play-off saw de Bruyn and Murphy head for the first hole.  Murphy’s approach left him with a 25 foot putt while de Bruyn pitched it to 6 feet.  Murphy made it, the German missed and the Kinsale man became the first Corkman to win the St Andrew’s Links.  Murphy appeared calm throughout the weekend, and speaking after the win, he remained calm when describing the play-off.  “Honestly I hadn’t held anything outside ten feet all weekend so I said to myself on the first green that I was due a putt” said Murphy.  “I had the line and it was a nice straight putt.  I knew it was in as soon as it hit it, and it rolled in the front”

 

Ian Stafford, Murphy’s coach for many years was one of many people glued to the live scoring this afternoon as play unfolded in Scotland.  “What a great achievement to win such a prestigious event,” said the PGA Professional.  “This performance has been coming for a while and even though John wouldn’t be happy with the way he putted this week it just shows that there is potential to achieve even greater things.  John has been playing injured for the best part of 2 years and since he had surgery before Christmas and had the injury sorted he has been able to do the sort of practice he needed to be able to produce a performance like this.”

Murphy also banished any bad memories of St Andrews from the R&A Scholars Tournament from last season.  Murphy led that competition after 36 holes but shot a 78 in the Old Course on the final day to finish in third place.  The Kinsale man, who turns 20 on Tuesday, spent most of the past year in Louisville in Kentucky.  Injury held him back in the first half of the college season, and a minor surgery in November meant that he had no competitive golf before the Christmas break.  Murphy returned to Louisville in January and under the guidance of Coach Aaron O’Callaghan he earned a place in the Cardinals team in all seven events after Christmas.  After finishing the college season at the NCAA Regionals in Ohio last month, his return to Cork was brief as headed to Paris for the French Amateur.  A missed cut in Chantilly frustrated Murphy, but he spent two days with Robin Dawson who also missed the cut.  Those two days of focused practice helped Murphy.  His next event was the East of Ireland in Baltray and an opening round of 68 put Murphy in good form.  Although he posted two rounds of 75, a closing 68 (including 6 birdies) meant that his game was in good shape.

Irish Team St Andrews Stophy 2018

John Murphy pictured with Irish Team Captain John Carroll, members of the Irish Team and friends

Murphy becomes the third Irish winner of the competition which attracts golfers from all over the world.  Naas’ Conor O’Rourke won in 2016 while Rathmore’s Alan Dunbar won in 2009.  Both Dunbar and O’Rourke went on to record further high profile wins as amateurs and that will no doubt boost Murphy as he faces into a busy season.  The win should also mean a big move for Murphy in the WAGR rankings.  Murphy has spent much of the past 12 months just inside the top 1,000, this will should see him rise in the rankings.

The Kinsale man, who turns 20 on Tuesday, spent most of the past year in Louisville in Kentucky.  Injury held him back in the first half of the college season, and a minor surgery in November meant that he had no competitive golf before the Christmas break.  Murphy returned to Louisville in January and under the guidance of Coach Aaron O’Callaghan he earned a place in the Cardinals team in all seven events after Christmas.  After finishing the college season at the NCAA Regionals in Ohio last month, his return to Cork was brief as headed to Paris for the French Amateur.  A missed cut in Chantilly frustrated Murphy, but he spent two days with Robin Dawson who also missed the cut.  Those two days of focused practice helped Murphy.  His next event was the East of Ireland in Baltray and an opening round of 68 put Murphy in good form.  Although he posted two rounds of 75, a closing 68 (including 6 birdies) meant that his game was in good shape.