Murphy draws Dunhill Links comparison with McIlroy

Bernie McGuire
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Murphy draws Dunhill Links comparison with McIlroy

John Murphy with his sister and friends 2021 Dunhilll Links (Photo: Fatiha Betscher)

In watching John Murphy play the final round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship we were reminded of another curly-haired Irishman contesting the event 14-years earlier.

I had stood beside a just as young-looking Rory McIlroy at the back of the 18th green as we watched Scotland’s Paul Lawrie putting for birdie on the last day of the 2007 Dunhill Links championship which bizarrely, like Murphy’s, was also McIlroy’s third European Tour event.

McIlroy remarked: “If Lawrie misses this putt, that’s my Tour card”.  Lawrie missed the putt and thus handed McIlroy enough prize-money to secure his Tour card for the 2008 season.

It was a slightly different scenario for Murphy who eventually shared ninth place following a closing round of 71 for a still impressive 12-under par tally in the company of Danny Willlett, who celebrated his 34th birthday with a two-shot success. Murphy’s effort earned him a prize cheque of €81,543 and that’s around €66,000 more than his combined earnings in his 10 events on the Challenge Tour since turning pro in mid-June.

The Kinsale golfer has gone straight to 197th on the European Tour ‘Race to Dubai’ and also earned automatic entry into this week’s Spanish Open in Madrid.

Murphy has also taken a huge leap up the World Rankings, rising 290 places to World No. 606 and this after turning pro at No. 1,900.

The Dunhill Links Championship was a great experience for Murphy, not only in the company of Willett over the last day, but spending quality time with fellow Irish players such as Shane Lowry and Michael Hoey.  He also had his sister for company – who can be seen in the photo of Murphy with his caddy and manager taken with his Irish friends shortly after ending his round.

“It’s been a fabulous week and I definitely enjoyed it”, he said with a beaming smile.  “I know I have a lot of improving to do. I know that I’m not the longest hitter out there, I’m not the straightest driver out there, my approach play isn’t the best out there, my putting is not the best, but when I stand on the first tee, I convince myself that I can go to toe to toe with anybody out there, and I think I can.

“I’m just going to try and improve in any way I can, learn from this week. And, yeah, there’s — you can always get better. So, I’m going to see what areas I can improve going forward, and I’m looking forward to that improvement.

“It was great having my sister with me.  My parents didn’t make it over but a few came over. It’s was great having them here.  And certainly, it was probably the biggest day of my golfing career so far. I knew that waking up this morning. It was lovely to have support out there.

“Also, there was Michael Hoey who was great to talk with.  I saw Michael a couple weeks ago. All the Irish guys have been great to me. They took me under their wing this week, brought me out, played practice rounds with me everywhere. They didn’t have to do that. That was just — I suppose they’re looking out for the younger players coming through.

“So, yeah, it was great that I could get to experience that and learn from them”.

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