There was great news in Kinsale Golf Club earlier this week when John Murphy became the latest Corkman to earn full Irish honours. He has been selected in the six-man Irish team to compete in the European Amateur Team Championship in Germany in two weeks’ time. Murphy was almost a certain pick given his recent form. He won the St Andrews Links Trophy earlier this month, and last week he reached the quarter-finals of The Amateur Championship in Royal Aberdeen.
The Louisville student represented Ireland at the Boys Home Internationals in 2016, and gaining a full international cap this year was definitely a target. “Being named to the Irish senior team is very exciting” said Murphy after the announcement. “I still remember going to Carton House for the champions dinner when I was young and seeing the Irish panels. I was in awe of even being in the presence of players like Robin and Alex, so to be teeing it up alongside them in the European Team championships is incredible. We have six great players, all capable of doing great things so it should be a very enjoyable experience and it would be great to pick up some silverware.” The bullish 20 year old was back in action in Cork Golf Club last weekend, winning two matches for Kinsale in the AIG Senior Cup. He now has a few days off before getting together with the Irish team for their trip to Germany.
It has been an eventful six months for Murphy. Surgery on a knee problem in late 2017 hampered his first few months in Kentucky, but since he returned in January his form improved. He was selected for all of the collegiate events. Although he didn’t have any wins in the college event, he continued to improve and by the time he returned to Ireland in early June. Although he missed the cut in the French Amateur by one stroke, he put the weekend in Paris to good use. John spent the weekend on the range with Robin Dawson where they both worked hard to grind out a few improvements.
His next event was the St Andrews Links, and after 54 holes he was up challenging for the lead. With nine holes to play had a two shot lead but he’d have to settle for a playoff. It was back onto the first on the Old Course and after two fine shots all Murph needed was to drain a 25 foot birdie putt to claim his first elite win outside of Ireland. At that stage he was seventh on the reserve list for the British Amateur, which is amazing when you considered that he was in the top twenty after the 36 hole strokeplay qualifier, and won three matches in the knockout stage. Murphy lost Friday’s quarter-final match against fellow Munster player Robin Dawson, and after that it was a race back from Aberdeen to Cork. Kinsale were playing in the AIG Senior Cup and although he sat out Saturday morning’s match, he won on Saturday afternoon and again on Sunday morning. With barely time to catch his breath, not to mind reflect fully on the past three weeks John was still on a high when news came through. “I took away a lot from British Am and learned loads about my game and about me. I was 2 or 3 down early on in my first two matches but fought really hard and won them both on 16. Then I beat the world number 5 very comfortably so I learned I am well capable of competing at that standard, which is huge for my confidence. Hopefully I can carry this into the European team championships and help the team to come out on top.”
Ireland had a strong team for the Euro’s. British Amateur runner up Robin Dawson along with Alex Gleeson earned automatic selection on the team by virtue of being the top two ranked Irish players in the World Amateur Golf Rankings. They are joined by Jonathan Yates, Rowan Lester, Caolan Rafferty and Murphy. The team captain is Bandon’s John Carroll who will be joined in Germany by team manager Michael Delany (Laytown & Bettystown) and GUI National Coach Neil Manchip.