Will Murphy may not have been the most decorated golfer in the field at the Azalea Invitational, but the past wasn’t taken into account when Murphy topped North Florida junior M.J. Maguire in a one-hole playoff.
The junior from Columbia, S.C., has three top 20s for the Gamecocks this season and is tied for third on the team with a stroke average of 73.09.
Murphy shot rounds of 72-67-68 at the par-72 Country Club of Charleston, tying Maguire after 54 holes (it was shortened to 54-holes due to inclement weather).
Murphy said he hopes the win will open doors for him on the amateur level. He would like to play the Sunnehanna Amateur, Northeast Amateur and Porter Cup this summer.
Here are 5 Questions with the Azalea Invitational champ:
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1. What was working well for you during the tournament?
“I started out the tournament on the first day and the putter wasn’t too hot for me. I sat down and evaluated my game, and my putting got better over the weekend. The weather was not too good over the last two days, and the last day especially. I told myself that patience was going to be the most important thing and that really helped me as the weather got really windy. My putter really heated up and that was the difference.”
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2. How were you feeling heading into the playoff?
“M.J. made a long putt on 18 to force a playoff. You have to expect him to make those putts. I felt pretty good going into the playoff. My game was solid and I consider myself a pretty good wind player, and it was just howling. I was able to hit a flighted shot up on the green and have a good birdie look. When he missed his putt for par, I had a tap-in to win it. It wasn’t the most stressful playoff, but it was definitely one I felt good going into.”
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3. Is this your biggest win?
“This is definitely the biggest amateur win I’ve had. I haven’t won anything in college. I’ve had a lot of runner-ups and tournaments where I’ve been in contention. For my golfing career, this is probably my biggest win, even going back to my junior days. I haven’t won on the national level yet, but this is something I’m proud of. It was just a matter of time with how I’ve been playing lately.”
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4. What does this do for you moving forward?
“First of all, I think it opens a lot of doors for the summer. Some of the tournament I was on the border of getting into, I should be able to get into those really big amateur tournaments. Second, it gives me a big boost of confidence knowing I can play with some of the best players in the country. That’s something I thought, but may not have believed at times. That put some belief in my system.”
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5. Different feel from college tournament?
“It’s a little bit different. You’re not out there with all of your college coaches and teammates. But, as far as the talent in the field, it was pretty much like a high college tournament, along with some really good mid-am players too. I would say the strength of that field is one of the top ones I’ve played the whole season.”