By Valerie Clancy.
Portumna’s Sam Murphy is hoping to continue the momentum as he tees off on home turf at today’s Connacht Men’s Open Stroke Play Championship.
The 20-year-old finished third in a dramatic play-off at last week’s East of Ireland Amateur Open Championship in Baltray. He narrowly missed out on the title as Laytown & Bettystown golfer, Alex Maguire, claimed a hometown victory.
That result moved Murphy to 26th in the Bridestone Order of Merit while Maguire replaced David Shiel (Enniscrone) at the top. And the Portumna golfer is looking to keep building his confidence as he makes a return to the Connacht Stroke Play.
“I’m looking forward to it, I haven’t played it in two years now. The course is in really good shape so I’m looking forward to having a home event which is nice,” said Murphy.
“I had a really good week last week, I knew I was playing well going into the week. I played really well in America the past few months, so I had a lot of confidence going into the East and it really did help. It was nice to go head-to-head with Alex Maguire and Caolan Rafferty so I’m really looking forward to this week now.”
Murphy tees off at 7.40am alongside Quentin Carew (Castleknock) and Aodhagan Brady (Co Sligo). 72 players will challenge for the title in Portumna with 72 holes of stroke play taking place across Saturday and Sunday.
The Galway native has returned home from the States where he has finished his sophomore year of college at Grand Canyon University in Arizona. Big improvements in his game and a historic season have given him confidence as he looks forward to a summer of golf at home in Ireland.
“My game has definitely really improved and tightened up a lot in the past year and my bad days have gotten a lot better which is helping my scoring a lot,” said Murphy.
“We won conference for the first time ever and made history for our programme. We made regionals from this win as well which was really good. It was nice to put yourself up against the best of the best in the States and you can really compare yourself then against them.
“I’m just going to take it week by week really, see how this week goes and then we’ve a few weeks off until the South of Ireland. Just keep playing the way I am and hopefully results will come.”