John Murphy reaped the rewards after long frustrating summer – one that demanded plenty of resilience and perseverance – he won the prestigious Mullingar Scratch Cup today to record his biggest win on home soil. “It’s been a tough season, and while I kept plugging away, things weren’t happening for me” said an excited Murphy. “I am heading back to Louisville next Saturday so I said I’d give it one more crack instead of just throwing in the towel on the summer. I am very relieved with this one.” Originally a Walker Cup panellist, Murphy has had a frustrating three months at home. Trips to England and Scotland were fruitless and outside of Kinsale qualifying for the Barton Shield finals there was little to show for his summer. In recent weeks, Murphy form was improving with good performances in the South of Ireland and Irish Close. He had a great start in Mullingar, carding rounds of 70 & 71 yesterday he was just two off the lead at the halfway stage. After this morning’s third round he was still two shots back but with the top three all playing together the stage was set for a dramatic finish. The last three holes proved crucial as all three golfers were still in the running. Gerard Dunne had a triple on the 16th taking him out of contention, leaving just Murphy and Matt McClean.
The Kinsale man took the lead for the first time on the 16th after sinking his third birdie in a row, but he bogied the 17th . That had him back in a tie for the lead heading for the par five 18th. Having recorded a 3, 4, and 6 on the closing par five in the previous three rounds, nothing was guaranteed. In the end Murphy parred and McClean bogied, giving the Louisville Senior his first major title at home. Murphy carded four under par rounds, the only golfer in the elite field to do so and signalling his consistency over the 72 hole event. More importantly, Murphy stayed in the moment even when he went behind. “There were times when Ger was three ahead, and Matt was three ahead. I was never ahead. I just stayed patient and waited for a few putts to drop and made three birdies in a row on the back nine there to get ahead for the first time and just held on to it coming in. There are a lot of great names in that trophy, and it’s nice to get my name on there. I am relieved more than anything. I was very close to not coming here and getting a bit sick of golf, so it was nice to come and prove a point this week.” There was more good news for Kinsale as Cathal Butler finished in 4th place after another solid performance. Peter O’Keeffe was the only other Cork golfer in action, the Douglas man finished in 15th, jumping 20 places today after shooting two 70’s. Interestingly the three Cork golfers all shot 140 today.