Kinsale golf ace John Murphy is on form in North Carolina

Kinsale golf ace John Murphy is on form in North Carolina
John Murphy (Kinsale) in action in the South of Ireland Championship at Lahinch in August.Picture: Niall O'Shea

JOHN Murphy opened his 2019/20 college season with a flourish last weekend, scooping a top ten finish in the opening tournament of the year.

Murphy shot rounds of 71, 66, 76 in the Roy Myers Invitational which took place at Duke University.

Four birdies and three bogies made up Murphy’s opening round on Saturday morning, and later that day he returned a blistering 66 which tied the lowest score of the tournament.

The 66 got off to a steady start, the Louisville golfer was level par after four with two birdies and two bogies. A birdie four on the ninth saw him turn on one under.

He had a hot hand on the back nine though, he was five under for the five holes from the 11th to the 15th. That included three birdies and an eagle as he finished the back nine with three pars to sign for a six under score.

That 66 in the second round saw Murphy lead the event going into the final round.

Murphy’s solid play helped his Louisville teammates to a third place finish in the team event.

It was a top class field with Walker Cup star Alex Fitzpatrick, Eric Bae, Ryan Burnett and other stars from Wake Forest, Duke and North Carolina. Murphy had three top ten finishes last year, this fast start to the season is a great boost to him and Louisville as he enters his final year.

The Cardinals finished in third place in the team competition with Connacht’s Devin Morley finishing 21st for Louisville. There were two Irishmen in the top 10.

Kilkenny’s Mark Power also finished tied for ninth after three solid rounds of 71.

This was Power’s debut start in college golf, and it was a great result for the freshman. It was an achievement for Power to make the team in itself, his Wake Forest side are one of the strongest rosters in the country this year, led by Alex Fitzpatrick.

There was another happy Corkman in North Carolina last weekend, Aaron O’Callaghan is a coach on the Wake Forest staff and is entering his second year at the college made famous by Arnold Palmer.

O’Callaghan was central to Mark Power joining the roster for this season.

Wake Forest are ranked inside the top 10 of US College Golf system and this was the ideal start to their season.

Mairead Martin is also on the Louisville golf roster and the Kanturk teenager started her sophomore year the previous week with the Cardinals women’s team at the Minnesota Invitational.

Martin had a disappointing opening round but improved by five shots in her second round to count in the team scoring. With weather affecting the second day, the tournament was reduced to 36 holes, and Louisville claimed third place.

Kinsale’s Mark Healy started his US college adventure on Monday. After moving to Tennessee in mid-August to join Tusculum University, the second-year student was placed into the starting line up.

It was a good start for Healy, shooting level par in his opening round. The D2 college has three more events before the winter break and then they will have seven events in the spring schedule before hopefully making it into the playoffs.

Kinsale’s Gary Ward was the only Cork golfer in action in Carton House last week in the first event of the new R&A Students Tour.

The new tour will take in five event in the home nations. Ward finished just outside the top 20 in the opening event.

It’s been another positive year for Ward, he won the Kinsale Senior Scratch Cup back in June and played well in the championships.

In the coming offseason, Munster Golf are organising an under 15 mini ‘Winter Series’ of two competitions — one on October 6, at Gold Coast Golf Club, and the other on February 8, 2020 at Killarney Golf Club.

The events are be limited to 40 players whose handicaps are held in Munster Clubs.

Places will be allocated in handicap order, at the time of entry with the home club holding three places for non-qualified juniors.

The format is stableford singles and entry is available online via the Golfnet website.

Entry to each competition is priced at just €5.

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