Murphy hoping for final group pairing with Purcell in front of home fans

Ronan MacNamara
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John Murphy (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

John Murphy hopes he has teed up a dream pairing with close friend Conor Purcell as he looks for a maiden Challenge Tour win at the K Club this weekend. 

At the time of writing, the duo are tied at the top of the leaderboard on eleven-under with Murphy posting rounds of 66 and 67, including a 25-foot par on the last. 

“Nice to finish on a positive,” said Murphy. “I saw Conor’s name at the top of the leaderboard at the back of the green and I thought it would be pretty cool to be playing with him in the last group tomorrow. I don’t know if it’s enough to do it but myself and Conor are good friends and it would be cool to generate a bit of buzz tomorrow and create a bit of interest locally. 

“That’s the kind of thing you fantasise about playing against your friend with a home crowd and a chance to showcase and showoff. 

“It’s nice to play at home in front of friends and family and I am looking forward to playing two more days of it. There will be times you won’t get to play two more rounds so now that I can I am looking to enjoy it.” 

The Kinsale native is 91st in the Road to Mallorca standings after a slow season by his standards, his best finish being a share of 18th. But the former Walker Cup star is bullish about his game, believing he is very close to hitting top form and he hopes this weekend is the time. 

“I think I have had a lot of belief. I know I am playing well. I suppose we are only halfway through the tournament, long way to go and I need to mentally prepare myself for that. I have been swinging it well I know there are good scores around the corner so nice to see it come to fruition the last two rounds, hopefully more to come. 

“Putting a little more pressure on yourself having shot a good round yesterday, a few more people watching you, knowing how you’re doing, birdied my first hole, birdied my first hole today and felt pretty easy from there, felt like I didn’t do much wrong, put myself in the right positions and try to keep doing that.” 

Playing the course from back to front, the 24-year-old birdied the tenth, fifteenth and eighteenth before moving to four-under for the day with a birdie on 2. 

His only blemish of the day came on the third but birdies on five and eight and that huge par save on nine have him excited for the weekend with a sizeable Rebel Army expected to watch a potential Dublin/Cork instalment. 

“There’ll be a few up tomorrow I think between myself and Conor we will surely get a good crowd out there,” he said.

“The K Club has put on a great show this week, it has generated a lot of interest locally and I think Irish people love sport, they are very passionate they love backing Irish sportspeople so I think there will be a decent crowd out tomorrow and it will be fun for myself and Conor to play together if that’s the case but we will wait and see.” 

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