John Murphy played his last seven holes in seven-under-par to card his lowest round as a professional a 62 and in doing so, catapulted himself into contention at the Vierumaki Finnish Challenge.
In a round bookended by a pair of eagles the Kinsale native shot ten-under to move into third place on eighteen-under-par and just one shot adrift of Marc Hammer and Velten Meyer heading into the final round.
Murphy put on a fast finish with a back nine of 29 which included a hat trick of birdies from the 12th before a brace of birdies on 16 and 17 were followed by a superb closing eagle three on the par-5 18th to give himself another opportunity at earning his maiden Challenge Tour win.
Teeing off six shots off the pace the 24-year-old started with a bang as he eagled the par-5 1st hole. He wasn’t able to build on his blistering opening straight away with bogeys on the second and fifth dropping him back to eight-under.
However, three birdies in four holes before the turn kickstarted his challenge.
In what has been a slow season by the former Walker Cup players standards there were signs of late that he was beginning to find his stride and he came into the week on hot form, having finished third in his home Challenge Tour event at the K Club last week, he also shot the round of the day highlighted by an eagle on his opening and closing holes.
“Obviously, it was a bit of fun,” he quipped afterwards. “Started off with an eagle which was nice, hit it to about 4-feet. Got a bit shaky there for a while, thought I was losing it, but thankfully made a few coming in to add up to 62 so I won’t complain.
“Made a great birdie on 12 in the midst of the rain. Was kind of a free for all from there really! Hit fairways, hit greens, made a couple coming in.
“On the last, my caddy gave me a great number, 68 yards and I ended up holing it. I said to him walking up to the ball I needed to hole it to shoot 29!
“I’ve been putting myself in good positions, in the last three weeks, I’ve been in the final group or close to it. This is why I get up in the morning and practice. This is what we live for as golfers, for moments like this.”
For the 24-year-old, the plan is simple for the rest of the today, ahead of a big day and potential victory tomorrow.
“Probably go to the gym and hang out with the lads. There is a strong Irish contingent here this week and we’ve been having loads of fun. I’m sure that’ll pass the day pretty easily.
“The Premier League starts today, so I’m sure that’ll add a few hours onto it!”
A disappointing back nine of 40 put paid to James Sugrue’s chances on Friday but he still remains on course for another good finish as his fine form continues.
A two-under 70 moved the Mallow man to nine-under alongside compatriot Conor Purcell who shot a four-under 68.
The Portmarnock man can make a significant move up the Road to Mallorca standings with a good finish on Sunday.
Waterford’s Gary Hurley is also looking good for another decent finish after a one-under 71 moved him to eight-under-par and into a share of 35th.
There was disappointment for Paul McBride who made a move in the wrong direction back to three-under after a one-over 74.
Frenchman Victor Riu occupies fourth spot on sixteen-under while overnight leader Bjorn is a shot further back on fifteen-under after a one-under 71.