Kinsale rookie pro John Murphy has a real spring in his step heading to the all-important third round of the Alfred Dunhill Links at St. Andrews. Murphy shares the leading Irish honours after a gutsy round of a three-under par 69 in cold and very windy conditions on the Kingsbarns Links course and move into a share of seventh place in the Euro 4.31 event
Joining Murphy just three shots from the lead is Shane Lowry who was also at Kingsbarns Links where he birdied three of his closing four holes in a 67. Two-time Dunhill winning Tyrrell Hatton posted a 67, and also on Kingsbarns Links to the east of St. Andrews to head the field on 10-under par, and with Hatton clearly more at ease in front of a ‘home’ crowd that last week
“Being back home just doesn’t feel as stressful as a normal tournament and that has probably helped the guys to come and play this week after a Ryder Cup,” said Hatton. “Last week you had the standard comments. If you were teeing off, guys would be saying ‘water on the left’ before you hit your shot or ‘water on the right’. Stupid stuff like that”.
No such concern for 23-year-old Murphy, who turned pro in June, and is this week contesting only a third main European Tour event. “I played nicely out there today and really didn’t do a whole lot wrong,” he said.
“I had a couple of bogeys out of nowhere at 12 and 14 but other the that I hit the ball into position off the tee, and it was nice to birdie two of the close three holes and after finishing with a couple of bogeys a day earlier at Carnoustie. “It’s the first time I’ve played Kingsbarns Links in competition. I did play a practice round on Tuesday with Paul Dunne and he has a good track record around here, so that was very helpful.
“Also, it’s the biggest European Tour I’ve played so I’m excited about that and really pleased how well I am playing”.
Adding to Murphy’s delight is that he’ll play the third round on the famed Old Course where three years ago, and as an amateur, he captured the prestigious St. Andrews Links Trophy. “I have good memories of the Old Course at St. Andrews but there is still a lot of golf to be played in this tournament,” he said. “I just love over here in this corner of Scotland. I love the golf courses and I love the town and everything about coming over here”.
If Murphy makes the third round cut, which he is on target to do, it will mean a second straight round at the Old Course for the final day of the event.
He’s currently lying 84th on the secondary Challenge Tour ‘Road to Mallorca’ and that means Murphy is heading to Spain for two events on the main European Tour schedule. “To be honest, I’m not sure what the rest of the season has install for me as I am just at the point where I am just playing wherever I can”, he said.
“Being inside the top-96 on the Challenge Tour rankings means I now qualify for the two European Tour events in Spain. So, we’ll see what happens over the next fortnight and move on from there”.
Lowry capped his round with a third hole eagle ‘3’ along with six birdies and three bogeys. Michael Hoey remains very much in the mix despite a 75 on the Old Course to slip to four-under par and just outside the top-20 while Paul Dunne, and with a 75 at Carnoustie, is at two-under.
Ardglass Cormac Sharvin is at two-under par while Padraig Harrington struggled on Kingsbarns Links, and also shooting 75, to drop to six-over as Europe’s Ryder Cup captain heads now to the Old Course needing a real low round to make the cut.
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