Murphy puts frustrations behind him with Mullingar Scratch glory
Kinsale's John Murphy put months of frustration behind him with a memorable one-shot win in the Sherry Fitzgerald Davitt & Davitt-sponsored Mullingar Scratch Trophy.
The 21-year-old international won the St Andrews Links Trophy last year and represented Ireland in the Eisenhower Trophy. But after a disappointing season, he put a summer of discontent behind him in Mullingar, closing with a brace of two-under-par 70s to win by one stroke from Malone's Matthew McClean on seven-under 281.
He was two shots behind McClean overnight and still two shots behind the Ulsterman with 18 holes to go, tied for second with Co Louth's Gerard Dunne, who would finish fifth after a 75.
But while he was still trailing coming down the stretch, the University of Louisville star remained patient and sandwiched a two at the 15th between birdies at the par-five 14th and 16th to lead by one stoke.
A three-putt bogey at the 17th left him tied with McClean playing the par-five 18th. But the Malone man hit his approach in the water hazard short of the green, then missed a three-footer for par to force a play-off after Murphy had laid up but missed from eight feet for birdie.
"I am relieved more than anything," said Murphy after joining Major champions Shane Lowry, Rory McIlroy, Pádraig Harrington and Darren Clarke on the list of winners in Mullingar.
"There are a lot of great names on that trophy, and it's nice to get my name on there. I was very close to not coming here and getting a bit sick of golf, so it was nice to come and prove a point this week."
Warrenpoint's Colm Campbell shot a final-round 69 to finish third on five-under and clinch third place on the season-long Bridgestone Order of Merit to claim one of three automatic spots in the Irish team for next month's Home Internationals at Lahinch.
Naas' Robert Brazill tied for 11th on level-par to edge out Irish Close champion Ronan Mullarney for the season-long Bridgestone title and secure his first cap.