Monday 23 October 2017

Murray grabs glory inspired by paralysed girlfriend

England's Tom Murray, winner of the Volopa Irish Challenge at Mount Wolseley
England's Tom Murray, winner of the Volopa Irish Challenge at Mount Wolseley

Brian Keogh

England's Tom Murray was inspired by his paralysed girlfriend as he holed two birdie bombs on the 18th to snatch the Volopa Irish Challenge at Mount Wolseley.

The 25-year old son of former European Tour winner Andrew, Murray went into the final round three strokes adrift of leader Nino Bertasio of Italy.

But he birdied the last from 25 feet for a four-under 67 that gave him the clubhouse lead on 16-under-par and a share of top spot with Bertasio and England's Robert Coles, and then did it again to beat the Italian at the second extra hole.

As veteran Coles (73) drove into trees made a quadruple bogey eight at the 17th to slip to tied fifth, Bertasio (70) missed birdie chances from 12 feet at the 17th and 18th to end up in a sudden-death play-off.

Both players missed birdie chances on their return to the 413-yard 18th before Murray drained a 30-footer across the green for birdie and looked on as Bertasio's 20-footer to stay alive failed to drop.

The champion confessed that he was inspired by his girlfriend Sophie Carrigill, 21, who was paralysed in a 2010 car crash and is now captain of Great Britain's wheelchair basketball team.

"Sophie plays elite sport herself and she studies psychology as well, so you couldn't have a more perfect role model and inspiration for me," said Murray, whose maiden win was worth €28,800.

"I started putting her initials on my ball to remind me that, if I hit a bad golf shot, it really doesn't matter."

Derry's Michael McGeady (71) and Ruaidhri McGee (69) tied for 30th on five-under-par to lead the Irish challenge, with Chris Selfridge (72) and Rory McNamara (75) a shot further back in joint 35th.

Murray moved up to 30th in the Road to Oman rankings with two events remaining, while McGee's cheque for €1,440 move up to 20th in the race for a Top 15 spot and a full European Tour card.

Irish Independent

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