Golf wrap: John Murphy takes big step towards graduating from Challenge Tour

Corkman finishes third for the second consecutive week at the Finnish Challenge

John Murphy took an other big step towards the possibility of graduating from the Challenge Tour with a full tour card, as the Corkman – for the second straight week – tied down a third place finish: this time, it came in the Finnish Challenge in Vierumaki, which saw him moved from 47th up to 28th in the updated Race to Mallorca rankings.

Germany’s Velten Meye shot a closing round 65 for a remarkable 26-under-par total of 262 to win by five strokes over compatriot Marc Hammer, while Murphy rounded out his week’s work with a 70 for 268 to share third place with Iceland’s Gudmundur Kristjansson.

Meyer’s impressively calm performance belied the fact he was playing in a leading group on the final day for the first time on the Challenge Tour. “It feels amazing” he said. “Obviously I’m very happy to come out on top. I think it can open a lot of doors, we play on the Challenge Tour to move up to the DP World Tour and this is a great help for my rankings.”

Meyer revealed afterwards that a recent pep-talk from his mother had set him on the course to victory: “Last week in Ireland I started with a 77, then shot 66 second round” he said. “My mum called me this week and she was like ‘why don’t you basically do what you did in the second round in Ireland?’ I said it is not that easy! But she was just saying ‘why don’t you think back to that round and have the same mindset and I tried to do that this week?’ I guess it worked!”

READ MORE

Murphy’s back-to-back third places edged him ever-closer to the leading 20 who will secure full cards off the Challenge Tour, although he will next switch to the main tour for this week’s ISPS Handa World Invitational at Galgorm Castle where he is playing on a sponsor’s invitation.

Paul Dunne will also tee it up in the ISPS Handa and the Greystones man went viral for the video of playing a recovery shot from a water hazard while shirtless in the final round of the Cazoo Open at Celtic Manor, where Callum Shinkwin claimed his second DP World Tour title.

The 29-year-old Englishman held a one-stroke advantage over Frenchman Julien Guerrier heading into the final round and, while he did relinquish the outright lead early on after a bogey at the third hole, he soon extended his lead and ruthlessly hammered home a dominant victory with a closing round 70 for a 12-under-par total of 272, four shots clear of Scotland’s Connor Syme.

Dunne’s water antics limited the damage on the third hole to a bogey, as he ultimately signed for a 73 for 285 which left him in tied-20th, which ended a spell of seven straight missed cuts spread across the main tour and the Challenge Tour.

Philip Reid

Philip Reid

Philip Reid is Golf Correspondent of The Irish Times