Douglas' Jack Murphy leading next generation of Cork golfers

Rookies are also making waves abroad with several Leesiders playing with US colleges or committed to head Stateside
Douglas' Jack Murphy leading next generation of Cork golfers

Jack Murphy  with his coach Stphen Hayes and the four trophies he won in 2021.

CORK golf is going through a purple patch on many levels. 

For the first time in years Cork has two tour professionals playing at the Challenge Tour level as well as a number of elite amateurs including double Irish Champion Peter O’Keeffe. 

The next generation is also making waves with several Cork golfers either in US colleges or committed to US colleges.

Jack Murphy is part of the next generation again, a 15-year-old Douglas golfer who topped the charts in 2021. Murphy won the Boys Under 16 Order of Merit after an impressive season of competitive golf.

Murphy racked up provincial wins in Ulster and Leinster, he competed in Munster Strokeplay and Flogas Irish Amateur Open, and he also represented Douglas in Fred Daly, Senior Cup and Barton Shield in a busy year. 

The Rochestown College student is enjoying the off-season and looks back on the season with a sense of achievement. 

The Order of Merit title was secured in October at the final event of the season in Athlone. A second-placed finish at the Connacht Under U16 secured the prestigious title for Jack.

“I was delighted to win the Order of Merit because to me it’s about playing well throughout the year,” explained Murphy. 

Good days will come for everyone but to minimise the bad ones is crucial and it was a goal of mine at the start of the year. 

"I think my best win was Ulster 16 because I was behind most of the tournament and put some pressure on by playing consistently.”

Murphy won the first counting event of the season in Delgany when rounds of 69 and 71 saw him finish five shots clear of the field. 

Disappointingly, he finished down the field when Douglas hosted the Munster U16 in July. He was the home favourite going into the event but two rounds in the mid-70s took him out of contention.  He bounced back just two weeks later with a win in Carnalea to secure the Ulster U16. 

A top 20 finish followed in the Irish U16 at Cahir Park and it came down to the last counting event in October before he was crowned the Order of Merit Winner.

It’s interesting to note that there were two other Cork golfers in the top 10 and two more in the top 20. 

James Walsh also from Douglas finished in fourth place while Fota Island’s Matthew Kelleher was 10th.  Eoghan Cassidy and Wayne O’Callaghan finished in the top 20 after solid performances through the season.

NATURAL

Murphy has been swinging a club for most of his life. His first time was when he was just two, playing in a field close to his house.  He started playing pitch and putt when he was six and moved to Douglas Golf Club when he was just nine. 

Douglas has developed a strong name for junior coaching and their outlook helped Murphy to improve.  Having started with a first official handicap of 28, Murphy got down to scratch last year when he was 14. 

This year he improved again, reaching a low handicap index of +3.5 at one stage during the season.

Murphy’s win came on the back of another impressive season in 2020 when he won the Boys U14 Order of Merit. 

He had a great patch in August last year, the highlight was winning the Kerry Boys at just 13 years of age. 

Jack Murphy pitching in the final round of the Munster Strokeplay in October. Picture: Niall O'Shea
Jack Murphy pitching in the final round of the Munster Strokeplay in October. Picture: Niall O'Shea

The teenager will still qualify for the U16 grade in 2022 so he’ll be keen to continue the good form. He’s currently in the top twenty in the EGA European rankings and he’ll be hoping to improve on that over the next twelve months.

As well as focusing on his own game, Jack also featured in Douglas colours at several stages during the season. 

Not only was the 15-year-old playing for the Douglas Fred Daly (U18) team, he was also competing at the top level. 

Murphy played in several Senior Cup matches, taking on challengers much older, and in the Barton Shield he partnered Peter O’Keeffe

I really enjoyed playing the inter clubs matches they were something different as it shows the teams side of golf, and in Douglas we were all rooting for each other to do well. 

"I do think we should have gone further with the panels we had in both Fred Daly, Senior Cup and Barton Shield but at the end of the day anything can happen and it just wasn’t meant to be this year, but we will be out again next year.”

Jack has also held his own in senior events, he finished in fourth place at the Munster Strokeplay in Cork Golf Club in early October and described that performance as his best of the year. 

Two weeks later he was in action against some of the best European golfers at the Flogas Irish Amateur Open. 

The Open was held at the European Club, a unique and challenging links track with plenty of places to get caught out. 

Champion Peter O’Keeffe described the 54 holes events as golf’s equivalent of the hunger games, but Murphy made the cut and survived the Brittas Bay challenge. 

It was Murphy’s first time to play in a senior national championship and he enjoyed the experience.

“Personally, I think the European club is a very mentally challenging course and a very rare course as it is not like the usual links you would find in Ireland with timber lips on the bunkers, lots of sand, soft fairways and so on. 

"I think it was a great experience to play there so young and to learn how to play such courses and be able to challenge and compete on them in time to come.” 

With an impressive two years behind him and a really strong support structure from his club, it’s likely that Murphy will feature at the top end of amateur golf in Ireland very soon.

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