Shane enjoy’s front row seat for Walker Cup

Kinsale native Shane Fitzsimons is one of a handful of spectators from Ireland in Seminole this week, and the US based golfer is savouring every bit of the Walker Cup experience.  He followed John Murphy for 35 holes yesterday, watching his neighbour play some unbelievable golf as he won his foursomes match and narrowly lost his singles match.

“John and Mark’s comeback in the foursomes was incredible and John almost pulled it off again in the singles.  Even after having an insurmountable task he was sensational on the back 9.  Hammer was 4 under after 9, I’m not sure there was better golf that that yesterday.  There was some great shots, his tee shot on 13, trading birdies on 15, bunker shot on 16 and his putt had a 90 degree break on it.”

The course is being compared to Augusta, hard fairways, fast greens and tricky slopes are making the golf exciting:  “The course is magnificent, the greens are hard and fast, and you’re not seeing the elevations on the tee.  Pin placement as tough as you would see anywhere, the course was set up for par to be a good score.”

“There’s a small crowd, just 1,500 spectators but the Irish find each other.  Eoghan O’Connell is here, Paul Buckley, Gerry McIlroy a few Irish based in Florida.  John and Mark’s coaches from Louisville and Wake Forest also made the trip.  It’s like being at a match when golf started, no ropes, walking the fairways with the players.  The atmosphere is subdued with a little clapping for a good shot.  It’s unlike any golf event I have been at, and I can’t imagine there will be another one like is as we come out of Covid.”

Shane was back on the course today supporting the Irish pair as they clocked up another win, and he’s sure to be on the first tee again for the singles as John Murphy takes on Ricky Castillo.

Murphy & Power win GB&I’s first Walker Cup Point

John Murphy and Mark Power came from behind to win the first point for GB&I this afternoon in the opening session of the Walker Cup.  Playing at a windy Seminole Golf Club on the Atlantic coast in Florida, the pair only took the lead on the 17th, and a measured two putt on the final green saw the pair claim the point in the morning foursomes.  The two Irish players were paired together, while it was expected both teams were hit by illness earlier in the week and it was unclear who would be fit to play today.

Needless to day Murphy was still on a high when it came to his post round interview with the Golf Channel, and he explained how they dealt with the pressure of being three down on two occasions.  “I said to Mark both times we’re playing great, we’ve got to stick to what we’re doing.  We got a couple of bad breaks early on but lets not try and force anything, this is a golf course for mistakes and we’ll let them make the mistakes.  We stuck to our gameplan very well and stayed patient.”

Power too was delighted with the result and credited Murphy with some solid advice early in the round, “The old head here calmed me down today, he said just hit fairways and hit greens and we’ll wear these guys down.”  Playing a Walker Cup match with a fellow Irishman was a real treat for both Murphy & Power and the Kilkenny man did a great job of describing it.

John Murphy watches his putt during a practice round at the 2021 Walker Cup at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Fla. on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Scott Halleran/USGA)

“It’s amazing.  We were talking about it this week, we played Home Internationals together, played together when we were 15 and 16.  On the first tee we said we were just going to just going to enjoy today and embrace it.”

It was a day of comebacks for GB&I.  At one stage they were 4-0 down on the course but when the last match finished it was 2-2 on the scoreboard.

Both Irish golfers are back in action this evening in the opening singles.  Power is out second against Davis Thompson while Murphy has the anchor spot on the team and will face world No 18 Cole Hammer.  They tee off at 8.47pm (Irish time) with coverage continuing on Sky Sports and the Golf Channel.

Afternoon Singles

2:30 p.m. – Alex Fitzpatrick, GB&I vs. Pierceson Coody, USA

2:41 p.m. – Mark Power, GB&I vs. Davis Thompson, USA

2:52 p.m. – Ben Schmidt, GB&I vs. Ricky Castillo, USA

3:03 p.m. – Ben Jones, GB&I vs. Tyler Strafaci, USA

3:14 p.m. – Joe Long, GB&I vs. Quade Cummins, USA

3:25 p.m. – Angus Flanagan, GB&I vs. Austin Eckroat, USA

3:36 p.m. – Barclay Brown, GB&I vs. John Pak, USA

3:47 p.m. – John Murphy, GB&I vs. Cole Hammer, USA

Kinsale Celebrate ahead of Walker Cup Weekend

Kinsale Golf Club celebrates John Murphy’s participation in the Walker Cup
Picture: Niall O’Shea

Excitement is building in Kinsale as the golf club and the community look forward to watching John Murphy compete in the Walker Cup this weekend.  Murphy will become just the fifth Cork golfer to take part in the Walker Cup after the Kentucky based golfer was selected on the team last month.  Although many would have liked to travel to Seminole in Florida, not even his family or his coach were able to travel.  That didn’t stop the Officers of Kinsale Golf Club from celebrating closer to home.  The club unveiled a Walker Cup flag last Sunday, a nice gesture to connect the members with their star player in Florida.  Watch by John’s parents Owen and Carmel, his sister Faye raised the flag in front of the clubhouse, and next week the Walker Cup pin flags will feature on Continue reading

Kinsale Celebrates Murphy’s Selection

John Murphy

There were lots of celebrations in Kinsale last week when news emerged that John Murphy had been selected for the Walker Cup next month.  Murphy becomes just the fifth Cork golfer to make it to the Walker Cup.  Friends and family bombarded the 22 year old with messages of congratulations, he was one of just two Irish golfers to make the GB&I team which plays the US team in Florida next month.

Among those who were delighted with the news was Ian Stafford who has coached John since he started the game.  “I’m absolutely delighted for John, the run of form John has been on lately in a pressurised situation has shown how he has matured as a golfer and there is a great feeling of redemption in getting selected for the team in Seminole” said Stafford who has coached John for close to a decade.  “Although this is not the first time John will have represented GB&I it is the final and biggest box ticked in terms of amateur achievements and a testament to the hard and smart work John has put in.  The emotions we are feeling now are a million miles from what we felt two years ago driving away from Portmarnock after Continue reading

Busy 2021 for Murphy

John Murphy was back in college golf action last week for the first time in ten months, but the Kinsale golfer has kept himself busy.  After working hard in Cork for the summer he travelled back to America last August, and he was determined to make to most of his extension as a student in University Louisville.  Murphy was a Senior last year but the cancellation of the second half of the season gave him another opportunity to compete in the 2021 NCAA college golf schedule.  It was a big decision to return in August, when many European based golfers chose to stay at home, but it paid off for Murphy, providing him with the weather and the facilities to improve his game.  “I felt as though the semester was really productive.  As always, I am just trying to learn and grow as much as possible as a player, and being in this environment certainly allowed me to do that.  I was able to compete with the world’s best Continue reading

John Murphy wins prestigious GCAA Byron Nelson Award

John Murphy

John Murphy has won a major US college golf award, he was confirmed as the winner of the prestigious Byron Nelson Award.  Three weeks ago Murphy was shortlisted as one of the three finalists and late on Thursday evening he was announced as the winner.  The Byron Nelson Award is awarded based on the winners golfing and academic performance as well as their character.  Although his senior year was cut short, the win was a great boost for the Kinsale man.

“I am still overawed to have been honoured with this award and to have my name mentioned in the same sentence as Byron Nelson,” said Murphy.  “To be recognised for what I do both on and off the golf course is incredible and I am so grateful that the committee put their faith in me.  I feel incredibly lucky Continue reading

Swift End to Murphy’s College Season

John Murphy

11 days and it was all over.  On the 13th March the NCAA announced the cancellation of the college golf season, and by the 24th John Murphy was on a plane heading home.  Instead of heading to Sawgrass CC in Florida for the second last regular season tournament, John Murphy was headed home.  Although he had planned to sit things out in Louisville, the fear of missing a summer of golf in Ireland was part of the decision to come home, and after three years in the University of Louisville, college life looked like it was over for the Kinsale man.  The plans to compete in the NCAA Regionals and the NCAA Championships were gone, the exams and graduation plans were changed, and an important trip to Louisville for his parents Carmel and Owen were all cancelled.    While the wider public health issues are far more important, it was a crushing blow for Murphy who was having a really strong season.  Murphy had two individual wins on the Division One circuit and three team wins.  It was a great season for Murphy in many respects.  He comfortably maintained his ranking in the WAGR top 150 and he came back to Cork with his head high, happy that he had seen more improvements in his game in his final year.

“My senior year certainly filled me with confidence” explained Murphy.  “It was great to be recognized on a national stage and I had a lot of fun on the golf course and continued to learn and grow as a player.  I had certainly put in some good work the last few years and put myself in a Continue reading

Masters Disappointment for Sugrue

James Sugrue pictured at home in Mallow with his invitation to the 2020 Masters Tournament.

The most disappointed golfer in Cork must have been James Sugrue.  The Mallow man was preparing for his trip to Augusta and on Friday it was confirmed that the Masters would be postponed.  Sugrue was on the BBC on Friday evening and like all other golfer fans you could sense his disappointment after the announcement was made.  A group of around twenty friends and family were planning to travel to the Masters and like many others they’re now waiting for the new date to be announced.  For Sugrue the postponement means that the plans for the season may change.  Sugrue had indicated that he’s probably turn professional in the summer after the US Open but those plans may have to change if he needs to retain his amateur status for a deferred Masters.  The same may apply to the

John Murphy

John Murphy was another golfer to be affected by the cancellation of competitions.  On Friday the NCAA announced the suspension of all college sports, effectively meaning that Murphy’s Louisville college career was over.  Murphy has been in a rich vein of form and saw his ranking rise to inside the top 50 in Division One stats.  Louisville had also risen to 14th in the national rankings meaning that a good post-season performance was within reach.  With all golf suspended for the remainder pf the season, Murphy now has a few more weeks of online lectures before he takes his finals.  Kinsale teammate Mark Healy is in a similar position, although he can return for another year in Tusculum Tennessee.  Murphy on the other hand is a senior and this was his final year in Kentucky.  He did put the brightside out on Monday when he tweeted a video hurling in the Cardinal Stadium football pitch.  The tweet went viral and brought a smile to many faces at a time when there was little to smile about.

Like most other sports golf has come to a standstill, and this week several clubs in Cork decided to close completely in light of the recent government advice.  Many clubs continued to hold club competitions over the weekend while adhering to the new guidelines on social distancing.  Following the weekend and the closure of pubs, there was a marked change with several courses closing.  Some clubs have cancelled club competitions but have allowed members to play.  Golfers were asked to observe the now usual norms of social distancing and not to engage in any handshakes.  Flags were removed from some courses with semi-permanent holes being cut in the middle of the greens.  Most clubhouses are now closed in line with the recommendations that came out on Sunday evening.  The likelihood of inter-club events and championships taking place in the next few months are also in doubt .

Top 5 for Murphy in Alabama

John Murphy

Kinsale’s John Murphy got his final US College semester off to a good start with a top five finish in his first tournament.  Murphy was competing in Alabama in the Mobile Sports Authority Intercollegiate and shot impressive rounds of 69, 70, 69 in his way to an eight under par finish for the event.  Murphy’s Cardinals finished in third place in the team competition, again continuing their good form from the fall series.  Murphy now has five more events in the next two months before his Cardinals team head for the play-offs.  Murphy was ranked inside top 100 in the US college rankings and this was his fourth top ten Continue reading