Friday 22 June 2018

This 13-year-old got to play golf with Rory McIlroy and he absolutely nailed it

He even outperformed world number one Dustin Johnson.

Rory McIlory embraces Oscar Murphy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
Rory McIlory embraces Oscar Murphy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

By Phil Casey, Press Association Sport Golf Correspondent

A 13-year-old boy had some of the world’s best players queuing up for lessons after upstaging them on day one of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Oscar Murphy took part in the “Beat the Pro” challenge on the par-three 15th and faced a daunting task against world number one Dustin Johnson, defending champion Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy.

But the six-handicapper held his nerve superbly to find the green and finish closer to the pin than Johnson and Fleetwood, with only his idol McIlroy producing a better shot.

“It was really surreal. I never knew I’d get to this point with my golf and it was probably one of the best days of my life,” Murphy, who is part of the HSBC Future Falcons programme, told Sky Sports.

“I was standing beside the tee box while Rory, Tommy and DJ were hitting off and my legs were like jelly.

“I played it off the front foot so I’d get it a bit higher and land it softly and it was just the perfect strike.”

Asked how many people he would be telling about his exploits, Murphy added: “Everybody I meet.”

European number one Fleetwood was certainly impressed, adding: “He hit this little fade into that pin and I haven’t got that shot! I said to him ‘Can you teach me?’ and then Rory said we both need it.

“Both of us couldn’t just hold one into that pin, it was middle of the green at best for us.

“He was brilliant wasn’t he? It surprised us all when he hit this little buttery 3-wood into that pin – great shot.”

McIlroy added: “Oscar lives here (in Abu Dhabi) but he’s from Northern Ireland. He’s been following me since the 2011 US PGA in Atlanta and every round I play here I feel like he’s my little mascot.

“I was a little surprised to see him on the tee there, I didn’t expect him to be inside the ropes today but it was good fun and he hit a great shot. He’s got a really, really good little swing so one for the future.”

Press Association

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