This year could be summarised as a game of two halves for John Murphy. The Kinsale golfer spent the first half of the year playing well but struggling to get results, but the second half saw him hit some key milestones. These included an international win, an Irish cap and get finish to the season back in college in the US. While 2018 may have been his best year, Murphy didn’t feel like that at the beginning of the year a he explained. “The college semester was difficult for me” recalled Murphy. “I didn’t feel like I was competing as I had in the past. I wasn’t producing results that were reflecting how I was playing. In all honesty, I was worried, I was shooting some poor scores and I was getting very frustrated with myself. It was tough. I remember having a call with my parents at regionals where I just shot 7 over par. I told them I was playing well but I just couldn’t score, and then we all realized that I had been saying that all semester, and maybe I was being delusional. The week I got back to Ireland, I went to the French Amateur with my Mother, and missed the cut by a shot. She told me it was the best she’s ever seen me play. While I was gutted to miss the cut, it gave me a sense of confidence and comfort to know that it wasn’t just me who thought I was playing well. I had a chat with her in the car on the way back to our accommodation, and I think that changed a lot. She said some things that gave me a great perspective, and told me just to persist and keep doing what I was doing. John took the advice, instead of dwelling on it he hit the range with Robin Dawson (who also missed the cut), and the pair ground out the day working together.
It would pay huge dividends as Murphy’s season turned around within two weeks. Many people say the game of golf is mostly played in the four inches between your ears, and Murphy played his best golf when he had a bit of confidence. That kicked in for Murphy when he had a great six under par round in St Andrews, the home of golf. “The next 2 weeks was a bit of a blur, I had just shot a 66 on the old course in the second round of the St. Andrews Links Trophy and I was contending again” said John describing that confidence. “I was one shot off the lead in the biggest tournament I had ever played in and I remember going back to the room and calling my parents, and just being confident again. Ian Stafford would always call or text me with some advice before the last round of a tournament. I remember the night before the final 36 holes, he texted me saying something like ‘I don’t think I need to tell you anything at this stage, I have a good feeling about tomorrow.’ I replied saying ‘I agree, it’s gonna be a good day.’ With all the advice he’s given me in the past, a text like that giving me a bit more confidence was all I needed, and he knew that.”
Although it took a play-off, Murphy captured the St Andrew’s Links Trophy, and that was the ignition his summer needed. He gained his first Irish Mens cap when he was selected on the Irish team for the Euro’s, and he was on the three-man team that played World Amateur Team Championships in Carton House in September. Although he has a month off from college, you won’t be seeing John in Kinsale this Christmas. He’s currently in Australia with a busy schedule of practice lined up. “I’m down spending Christmas at my girlfriends house in Melbourne and It’s amazing down here. There are a lot of great golf courses nearby, I am working hard to try and take advantage of the conditions and facilities around here. I’m doing some traveling around the south coast, seeing some new places and playing different courses. It’s very different to back home, and I’m certainly going to miss Christmas in Kinsale, but I’m very happy with my decision to come down here and it’s certainly in the best interest of my golf.”