John Murphy praised his caddie Shane O’Connell as he turned an average round into a good one with a stirring finish at Frilford Heath in round three of the English Trophy presented by Rocket Yard Sports Marketing.
A birdie on sixteen and a hole-out eagle from 130 yards on seventeen turned around a frustrating day as he signed for a four-under 68 to move within five shots of the lead heading into the final round.
Murphy is seventh on thirteen-under-par with Maximilian Schmitt leading the way in the final regular event of the season.
“To be honest it was pretty frustrating out there at times with the wind and stuff. I felt I should have been a couple better than I was at various different times but yeah Shane my caddy did a great job at keeping me in the moment,” explained Murphy who felt under the weather.
“There was a long way to go in the tournament and I was by no means out of it so he played a big role today in keeping me committed to every shot and making sure we got the most out of the round and turned an average day into a pretty decent one.
“The eagle on 17 helped I had 130 yards into the wind. It was one of the trickier holes out there today and I hit a nine iron, landed past the hole, spun back. It was a great shot but obviously when it goes in it’s always a bonus so I won’t complain. It’s something you don’t really expect to happen,” he laughed.
Sunday is a big day for the Kinsale native who entered the week 42nd in the Road to Mallorca Rankings after four missed cuts in six events but he is now projected 35th as he bids for his maiden Challenge Tour win.
A high finish would go a long way for the 24-year-olds DP World Tour promotion hopes with the top-20 securing cards at next month’s Grand Final but he feels calm and doesn’t feel pressured by expectations.
“Yeah I feel good about it all. I came here at the start of the week knowing there would be more added pressure this week and I think I have done a good job at embracing that and getting the most out of my game so far this week.
“The moment I got here I did everthing I could to put myself in a good position come Sunday so I’m here now and in a pretty good position. I don’t feel any real pressure because I am chasing I’m still five shots back but I’m looking forward to getting out there and making sure I put myself into good positions and stay on top of things.”
It has been a positive week for the Irish contingent to this point with Portmarnock’s Conor Purcell seven shots back alongside Tom McKibbin on eleven-under.
Purcell carded two eagles in his first seven holes in a four-under 68 which included holing out from 50 yards on the par-4 16th.
At 17th place the 25-year-old’s target will be to consolidate his place in the top-70 on the Road to Mallorca and earn a Challenge Tour card for next season while McKibbin will be bidding to maintain his place in the promotion places ahead of the Grand Final.
Not much happened for the 19-year-old from Holywood but birdies on thirteen and sixteen ensured he shot a two-under 70.
Having entered the week 15th in the Challenge Tour rankings with the top-20 securing DP World Tour cards after the Grand Final McKibbin is projected to drop to 16th so he will need a good finish to avoid edging closer to the bubble.