Murphy hits Route 66 to move into contention on Legends Tour

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Gary Murphy - Image by Phil Inglis

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Gary Murphy rolled back the years with a scintillating six-under par round of 66 to reignite his tournament chances at the Riegler and Partner Legends at Golfclub Murhof in Austria.

The K Club Head Professional bounced back from a rusty opening 73 to be all guns blazing on Friday, landing a birdie ‘2’ at the fourth hole before adding two more either side of the turn at the ninth and 10th.

The former European Tour star wasn’t done there, adding further gains at the 13th and 14th holes before finishing with a flourish with another birdie at the last.

All-told, his blemish-free effort moves Murphy just outside the top-10 on five-under, eight shots back of Paul Streeter’s lead.

It’s brilliant to see the retained ability of Murphy who enjoyed 292 starts on the European Tour in a career that topped the €2 million earnings’ mark.

Murphy turned 50 at the end of last year and certainly looks to have a golf game capable of causing a stir in the Legends Tour ranks in 2023.

He’ll do well to catch Streeter, however, who will take a three-shot lead into the final round following a superb second round of 66.

The Englishman was two shots ahead after day one and he added to his opening 67 to reach 13-under-par. His second round contained one eagle, five birdies and a solitary bogey on the 6th hole.

Having circled four consecutive birdies on holes nine and twelve yesterday, he once again took advantage of that stretch around the turn, with an eagle at the par-5 ninth backed up by birdies on ten and eleven.

Streeter, who is going in search of a third Legends Tour title having won twice in his rookie season in 2018, is eight-under-par for the eight par-5s through the first two rounds.

“I’ve hit it really well,” he said. “I’m driving it nicely and if you get it in play off the tee there are chances. The par 5s are all gettable, so that’s been the key to my scoring. I’ve holed a few nice putts as well.

“I always hit it well in practice rounds and then I get into the tournament and I get a little bit quick. So that’s been my one thought today, to maintain my tempo and not get too quick, and it seems to be working.”

A win tomorrow would have extra meaning as it would boost Streeter from a relatively low exemption ranking and enable him to plan his year ahead – and that significance isn’t lost on the leader: “I’m going to be extremely nervous – as I always am. But it’s where we want to put ourselves to see how we handle it. It’s what we practice for.”

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