Murphy overcomes frustration with strong finish in Mauritius

Ronan MacNamara
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John Murphy - Getty

John Murphy was pleased with how he handled himself on the golf course in round one of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open as he turned an average day into a good one with two birdies in his last four holes to shoot a two-under 70.

It’s been a testing start for Murphy in his rookie season on the DP World Tour, missing his first three cuts. Despite playing plenty of good golf, the Kinsale native has conspired to turn one or two-under-par rounds into one-overs. But today he managed to quash his frustrations and come out on the right side of the scale with birdies on 15 and 18.

“We had some rain, hail and shine out there today. But yeah, it was a nice day all the same, played nicely out there,” explained the 24-year-old. “Got pretty frustrating to be honest, kept giving myself chances but missed a few but got a couple to go coming in. Nice to finish off the day on a high note.”

At the time of writing, Murphy, who was in the second group out, is in a share of 16th place, five shots behind Pierre Pineau.

The Cork man started slowly with an early bogey coming on the second, but responded with birdies on the par-5 5th and par-4 9th to turn in 35. Patience began to wear thin after a par on the par-5 12th and a bogey on the par-5 14th but Murphy stuck to the task despite the blustery conditions.

“Approach shots are quite testing, there is a cross wind on a lot of holes which makes it tough,” he said. “The fact it is a bit lenient off the tee makes up for that and it does give you a lot of chances going into the greens. You should have an approach to all 18 holes so that certainly makes it a little bit easier.”

It’s been a marathon year for Murphy which began in Pebble Beach and will end in Mauritius. The 2021 Walker Cup star earned his DP World Tour card after six gruelling rounds at Q-School last month having missed out at the Challenge Tour Grand Final.

There’s been no rest for the wicked as far as he’s concerned having hopped on a plane to South Africa for a hat trick of events, meaning practice time has been limited before turning up in Mauritius this week where he intends to enjoy the last of the sun before heading home.

“It’s been a long year, this is my 36th event of the year which is a lot of golf by any standard so it’s nice to finish off in a place like this. I came here to enjoy the week, anywhere else and I would have considered taking the week off. Just decided I’d come out with my caddy and try enjoy the week as much as I could and try and take that approach into the remainder of the week.”

Gary Hurley hit the opening tee shot at 6.20am local time and a birdie at the last game him a level-par 72 while McKibbin is alongside Murphy on two-under-par.

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