Kinsale’s John Murphy continued his strong recent form by comfortably securing his place in the weekend at the Acciona Open de Espana with a second consecutive round of three-under at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid.
The 23-year-old, playing in just his fourth European Tour event, bounced back well from back-to-back bogeys at his third and fourth holes having started at the 10th, carding seven birdies to move inside the top-15 on the leaderboard at six-under overall.
He still has a fair bit of ground to make up on the men at the top of the leaderboard, however, with the Netherlands’ Wil Besseling in the clubhouse at 13-under after a 65 on day two, and the world number one player Jon Rahm sitting one-shot behind him at 12-under after a second round 67.
Still, it was another encouraging outing for Murphy, who has pressure on his shoulders after his ninth-placed finish at last week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship but seems to be handling it fairly well under the circumstances.
His start was rocky enough, bogeys coming at the 12th and 13th to drop him back to one-under and close to the cut line, but he quickly bounced back to form with three straight birdies at 14, 15 and 16, and he closed out his back nine with a birdie before making the turn.
Further birdies dropped at the first, fourth and fifth, although they were accompanied by bogeys on two and six, but back-to-back 68s and having two more rounds to look forward to at the weekend will no doubt represent a hugely positive return for Murphy.
At the top of the leaderboard, Besseling is yet to drop a shot in Spain as he recorded another six birdies to move onto 13-under with his second bogey-free round of the week. The Dutchman had a relatively slow front nine, parring his first six holes before finding birdies at the seventh and ninth, but on the back nine he picked up in his scoring by adding further strokes at 10, 12, 14 and 16 to move clear of Rahm, albeit with the Spaniard breathing down his neck.
Rahm carded a 67 as he looks for a third consecutive win at his home open and, with the weekend entirely sold out, the leading duo will take a bumper crowd round with them in the Spanish sun. Sadly, neither Jonathan Caldwell nor Cormac Sharvin will be in the action with the former one-shot outside the cut-mark at minus-one while the latter carded a second round 70 for a three-over tally.
- Full scoring HERE