KINSALE'S John Murphy was back Cork for a few weeks in December, and the Kentucky based golfer took a well deserved break after a busy few months on the course.
After 30 plus tournaments in 2019 John took advantage of the winter break to recharge with family and friends in Kinsale.
Having used the 2018 Christmas break to practice in Australia, John took a different angle this year with an extended break at home.
“The last few weeks were very different to my normal schedule,” said Murphy.
“Apart from having to study for my finals a lot, I had a lot of time to spend with friends and family which I don’t normally get to do, so I really enjoyed it.
"I took a couple weeks away from golf just to recharge.
"Towards the end of a season, it feels like I’m going to practice because I have to rather than because I want to, so taking a little break helped me to get a bit of hunger back and certainly helped me to refresh.
"In the coming months, I have a hectic schedule, combining 10 tournaments with a lot of studies to hopefully get my marketing degree in May.”
John is currently in Chile with the Irish team, he’s taking part in the South American Amateur this week before he returns to Kentucky for his final semester.
2019 was a year of two halves for Murphy, with the second half of the year giving Murphy two big wins.
The season started with Murphy being named in the extended Walker Cup panel following some good college performances.
His return back to Ireland didn’t go to plan however with a series of frustrating results.
Despite the poor results, Murphy continued to practice and work on his game, and his game improved steadily.
While he worked through the June and July, it all kicked off for Murphy in August when he picked up a big win on the Irish circuit.
The Mullingar scratch cup may not be the biggest event from a Cork perspective, but in Leinster it’s a pretty big deal.
The event is one of just two 72 hole scratch cups and this year it became an Irish order of merit event.
Murphy had played reasonably well coming into that event, including a good run in Lahinch at the South of Ireland.
Three matchplay wins in Lahinch was enough to give Murphy’s confidence a boost and he was back at his best in Mullingar two week later.
He was two off the lead going into the final round but solid golf, and even better course management saw him lift the famous trophy.
“There’s no question that Mullingar boosted my confidence a lot,” said Murphy.
“I had a tough summer and I think picking up that win before going back gave me some nice momentum going into the college season.
"I also felt like I got some very good work done in the month leading up to the college season, so I was very confident when the first tournament came around.”
Just before Murphy headed back to the US, he took part in the annual Pro Shop challenge in Kinsale, and it was obvious that there was a new spring in his step thanks to Mullingar.
That spring went all the way to Kentucky as John enjoyed his best run of the year.
Murphy is now in his third and final year in the University of Louisville, having spent his first year in college in Maynooth.
The college senior hit the ground running when he returned in September.
Two top tens and two top twenty’s were made all the more special with his first win at the Bearcat Invitational.
Cincinnati was the location for his first US win.
Murphy held the overnight lead in that event after impressive opening day rounds of 67 and 66.
There was no let up on the second day as he shot his lowest competitive score with an eight under par 63.
That gave him a winning 54 hole total of -17. Impressive as the score was, he finished just three ahead of the field.
Murphy also help the Louisville Cardinals to their first team win of the season at that event, and solid play over the fall series saw them record four top three finishes.
Obviously Murphy was delighted with his play in the first half of the college season.
“I started off with a couple of very solid tournaments and then picked up the win in my third event which was nice.
"Getting a win in college tournaments is not easy, so it felt great to pick up that win.
"It was by far the best golf I’ve ever played. Everything just clicked and I’ll certainly never forget that week.”
Depending on Louisville’s progress in the post-season, Murphy should be back in Cork in late May.
He’ll have a busy summer ahead but the Kinsale man isn’t making any firm commitments on his schedule just yet.
“I’m going to wait and see what happens to determine my full schedule.
"Golf is so conditional and schedules can vary depending on how you’re playing.
"Last year what I did a poor job of was sticking to the present.
"I was always looking forward and not giving my full attention to being in the moment, so I want to do a better job of just giving everything I do 100% at that time.
"That’s something I worked on with Ian Stafford towards the end of the year, and it has a massive impact on how I play.”