It might not be the finish he was hoping for, but Kinsale’s John Murphy still had a fine tournament at the Acciona Open de España in Madrid as he continues to prove he could be a mainstay on the European Tour in the future.
Looking to prove his top-10 finish at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship a week ago wasn’t just a flash in the pan, the 23-year-old did so by carding four rounds in the 60s at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid in finishing tied for 24th at 11-under overall.
Very enjoyable week in Spain on the @EuropeanTour . Nice to put together 4 rounds in the 60’s. Had a blast competing with some of the best in the world the last few weeks! Thank you again for all the support ?
— John Murphy (@john_murphy5) October 10, 2021
While a potential spot at next week’s Andalucia Masters at Valderrama has passed him by – the top two unqualified finishers inside the top-10 would have received that spot – Murphy will undoubtedly be happy with another top flight experience where he banked €13,809 for his week’s work.
His final round, a three-under 68, was fairly uneventful besides two eagles, both at par-fives – the fourth and 14th – but he also had two bogeys and a birdie as he finished with a flourish in Spain to at least net a handy prize packet for his efforts in the capital.
At the top of the leaderboard, a thrilling day transpired between two Spaniards, Rafa Cabrera Bello and Adri Arnaus, with the former emerging triumphant in a play-off to claim his fourth European Tour victory.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for Cabrera Bello, who saw his two-shot overnight lead wiped out by the time he reached the first green and was two shots behind after the ninth as Arnaus started to really challenge for the title with two birdies and an eagle before the turn.
But an excellent string of three consecutive birdies from the 12th had Canary Islands ace Cabrera Bello back in the game and, after a superb sand save on the 18th, the pair were back down the 18th to determine who would lift the title ahead of their fellow countryman.
And it would the 2016 Ryder Cup player who would take advantage, rolling in a lovely 11-foot putt for birdie to secure the win and end a trophy drought that stretched back to July 2017.
“I came here in probably the worst shape I have been in in the last decade, close to say, and to walk out here with a win, it’s very special,” he said.
“It was definitely one trophy that was on my bucket list. To join my name to all those champions – Alvaro (Quiros) as well that I can think of – it’s very, very special.
“I’ve always dreamed about holding this trophy. This week I’ve trusted myself again, I found a way to believe in myself and I had the amazing support of the crowd that was rooting for me and that really helped me keep going.
“I just fought as hard as I know until the end, I never really gave up and I got the little bit of luck I needed on the play-off.”
It was a gutting finish for Arnaus, who surely thought his four-under 67 might have had it won inside the 72 holes only for Cabrera Bello’s fine sand save on 18, and he has now finished second on the European Tour on four occasions in 72 starts.
Grant Forrest – who had a hole-in-one on Thursday and took just 28 shots to complete his back nine on Sunday – Julien Guerrier and Shubhankar Sharma all finished at 17-under and in a tie for third,
- Full scoring HERE
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