JOHN MURPHY gave himself the perfect birthday present when he won the St Andrews Links Trophy yesterday.
The Kinsale man will be 20 tomorrow, and on Sunday he won a dramatic play-off at the home of golf.
Murphy won in style too, he drained a 25-foot putt on the first playoff hole to claim his first major title outside of Ireland.
Murphy shot 66 on the Old Course on Saturday to hold the 36-hole lead.
A 71 on Sunday morning had him tied for the lead with one more round on the Old Course to come.
John started well, birdies on the third and fourth saw him jump into a two-shot lead.
He held that lead at the turn but when he dropped a shot on the 13th he was tied for the lead.
The play-off saw Murphy up against Germany’s Jannick de Bruyn.
Murphy’s approach left him with a 25-foot putt while de Bruyn pitched it to 6 feet.
Murphy made it, the German missed and the Kinsale man became the first Corkman to win the St Andrew’s Links.
Murphy appeared calm throughout the weekend, and speaking after the win, he remained calm when describing the play-off.
“Honestly, I hadn’t held anything outside ten feet all weekend so I said to myself on the first green that I was due a putt,” Murphy said.
“I had the line and it was a nice straight putt. I knew it was in as soon as it hit it, and it rolled in the front.”
Ian Stafford, Murphy’s coach for many years was one of many people glued to the live scoring this afternoon as play unfolded in Scotland.
“What a great achievement to win such a prestigious event,” said the PGA Professional.
“This performance has been coming for a while and even though John wouldn’t be happy with the way he putted this week it just shows that there is potential to achieve even greater things.
"John has been playing injured for the best part of two years and since he had surgery before Christmas and had the injury sorted he has been able to do the sort of practice he needed to be able to produce a performance like this.”