John Murphy praised his mental strength after he produced some eleventh-hour heroics to earn his DP World Tour card as he surged through the field with a six-under 65 on the final day of Q-School.
Murphy had already passed up an opportunity to step up to Europe’s top-tier at the Challenge Tour Grand Final ten days ago meaning a first experience of the Q-School cauldron awaited. After five frustrating rounds, Murphy arrived at the Lakes Course knowing he needed birdies, and lots of them if he was to bridge a four-shot gap and break into the top-25.
“My caddy Shane (O’Connell) turned to me and said no matter what happens we just have to give it one more go and see what happens,” said the Kinsale native who felt mentally reassured over the job security of another year on the Challenge Tour and limited DP World Tour starts.
“Either way I’m going to be playing on the DP World Tour next week whether it’s in Australia or South Africa and that in a sense is all I ever wanted to do. So, I just tried to come out, give it everything, enjoy the day and see what that added up to so yeah, I’m happy with how I dealt with things.
“Obviously I had fully come to terms with the fact that I was OK if I had to play another year on the Challenge Tour to be honest. I was fully accepting of that,” added Murphy who was 90th in the Challenge Tour rankings before a third place finish at the Irish Challenge kickstarted his season.
Murphy only turned professional last year fresh after an impressive Walker Cup bow where he formed a good partnership with close friend Mark Power.
The 24-year-old more than held his own in his DP World Tour invites towards the end of last season with a top-10 at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and a top-25 at the Spanish Open
“To be able to compete where I know I am good enough to play and good enough to compete is a huge added bonus and I am looking forward to getting out there and doing my thing out there,” he said of the DP World Tour.
DP World Tour Q-School is best known for the drama around the top-25 bubble and Murphy was at the heart of it after finding himself in a similar scenario to that of Gavin Moynihan five years ago.
Moynihan birdied the 18th to break into the top-25 but his future was out of his hands as an hour later Sweden’s Christofer Blomstrand stood over a 25 footer for birdie at the 18th with the Dubliner putting his head in his hands, unable to look.
Moynihan got in and Murphy was hoping he would come out on the right side of any final round drama.
After six opening pars, his promotion charge seemed to be slipping away but two birdies in three holes reignited his hopes of a back nine charge, and he delivered.
Four birdies in eight holes saw him rise to 24th place with plenty of golfers left on the course. Shying away from leaderboards all day, the Cork man faced a long two-putt on the 108th hole. This time he knew where he stood and after signing for a 65 and a back nine of 31.
After just over an hour of refreshing leaderboards on his phone he was in.
“It was a nervy hour or so,” he laughed.
“I saw 25th was –17 when I was walking up onto the green. I had a tough two-putt to go and I suppose I really trained for moments like that and to be in that situation. It’s why I get up and practice, to be in those situations and I felt like I did all I could today and I’m delighted that it was enough.
“I’m proud of how I dealt with things all week, it was so unique compared to any other tournament we play. I’m never looking around to see who’s finishing around me in 24th or something.”