Paul Murphy signed off with a six-under 65 to secure a third-place finish at the Alps and Pro Golf Tour’s co-sanctioned Tenerife Pro Golf Open at Buenavista del Norte Golf Club.
After backing up his opening 63 with a second-round 68, Murphy trailed Italian Gianmaria Rean Trinchero by five coming into the final round, but knew that if he went low there was every chance that he’d be in with a shout coming down the stretch.
And he’d do exactly that. An eagle on the par-5 fifth hole got him moving in the right direction, and he’d add two more on the seventh and ninth holes to make the turn at -4 for the day.
Trinchero was struggling, but England’s Jack Floydd and Dutchman Lars Keunen had started strongly, the former matching Murphy’s -4 on the front side, but the latter going one better and turning at -5.
Murphy would make six consecutive pars to start the back side, before finishing off with two birdies on the last three holes to shoot a bogey-free 65 which saw him climb two spots on the leaderboard and capture a solo-third place finish.
Keunen and Floydd were sparring magnificently until the par-4 11th where the Dutchman would make an incredible eagle-two to open up a three-stroke gap, and despite a bogey at the 16th, he’d sign off with another eagle at the last to seal a four-stroke victory over Floydd, with Murphy one further adrift in third.
Earlier in the day, Ronan Mullarney endured a difficult final round to finish the tournament in 38th place, but still holds onto second place in the Order of Merit. The win was Keunen’s second of the season, and he rises to third with Floydd occupying fourth.
Murphy climbs to 21st, and with four regular events and the grand final yet to come, is still in with a shout of capturing one of the four Challenge Tour cards that are still up for grabs.
“Overall I played flawlessly in the final round,” Murphy said. “Proud of myself for that. A few more putts would have been nice but I gave it my all. Starting the tournament with a 63, I knew and believed I’d be there or thereabouts come the end of the last day. All I had to do was put up a score and see what happens. Having patience today and letting the birdies happen was part of the game plan. Not forcing to go low and just continuing what I do best and let my training take over. I’ve struggled in the past to put three solid rounds together but with recent tournament experience, I’m starting to get a sense of a formula that works.
“I blocked my second shot on the first today, it bounced twice on the rocks in the hazard and miraculously ended short right of the green. The other occasion was when I just eagled the par 5 fifth and hit the tee shot on 6. I pulled this three iron so far left that it should have been lost in the desert mound. To my surprise, I saw this thing take a bounce 90 degrees right onto the fairway. My playing partners said “it’s your day.” Even though we’re only on the 6th hole. Managed my nerves and played solid from there on out.
“The finish is a great confidence boost. It means that I have a bit extra in the account to finish the season out and not worry as much. Now we need to bottle it and keep using the positive emotions going forward for the rest of the season. Love a late charge. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”