Paul Murphy shot a blistering eight-under 63 in the first round of the Alps Tour’s Tenerife Pro Golf Open at Buenavista Golf in the Spanish archipelago to end the day in solo second position just one off the lead.
The event, which is co-sanctioned by the Alps and Pro Golf Tours, features just two Irish participants in Murphy and Mullarney, who are the two highest ranked Irishmen in the Order of Merit.
Murphy, whose best finish of the season was a tie for sixth at the Gösser Open which Mullarney incidentally won, carded three birdies and a bogey on his first eight holes before reaching the par-5 18th – his ninth – where he’d make an eagle-three to make the turn at -4. He’d add a further four birdies at one, three, five and nine to sign for a 63, his lowest round of the year and his best opening round by some distance.
His compatriot Mullarney, who lies second on the Order of Merit after a win and a further three top-five finishes, also started strongly, though his four-under total – which included five birdies and one bogey – sees him end the day in a tie for 21st.
“Today’s round wasn’t much different to my other under-par rounds this season,” Rosslare’s Murphy said after signing his card. “I’m starting to understand my golf imperfections and learning from my mistakes from each tournament. I’m gaining experience as I go along. All in all, I believed a round like this was coming and it was only a matter of time.”
Murphy trails England’s Jack Floydd by a single stroke, with a further three one additional stroke adrift on -7.
Floydd, who lies fourth in the Order of Merit, captured victory in the first event of the season, was delighted with his opening round. “I hit the ball great and putted great,” he said. “It’s my lowest tournament round, so I am very pleased. The par 5s are definitely opportunities on this course. I feel this week definitely favors being longer off the tee compared to other venues we play at so I was happy to take advantage with my driver.”
The Alps Tour representees faced a quick turnaround after the Andalucía Open drew to a close on Saturday afternoon, meaning the likes of Floydd and Mullarney only arrived the previous evening and weren’t able to complete full practice rounds.
“There was only a day between the final round last week at Ayamonte and the first round here in Tenerife,” Floydd added. “I slept a lot, got in the gym, had a decent practice session where I was in contact with my coach and then only played 5 holes of the course, my first 5 from today’s round. The course is fun to play and has some amazing views so despite the golf, being out there enjoyable.”