A PGA Tour start is on the horizon for overjoyed Kinsale golfer John Murphy after the Ireland international was honoured with US College golf’s prestigious Byron Nelson Award for 2020.
The University of Louisville senior, who will return to the States for another year of collegiate golf in the autumn, said he could not be happier to have received the award, one of the perks of which is an exemption into the PGA Tour’s AT&T Byron Nelson tournament in Dallas, Texas next May.
“Couldn’t be happier to be the recipient of this year’s Byron Nelson award in college golf,” Murphy tweeted.
“Looking forward to teeing it up in my first PGA Tour event. Before this happens, I’m also excited to announce that I’ll return to Louisville for another year of college golf.
Murphy becomes the first University of Louisville golfer to receive the Nelson Award, for which candidates must be a graduating senior whose collegiate career is judged on academic and golfing achievement as well as the nominee’s character and integrity.
Murphy’s good citizenship was deemed worthy of those qualities exemplified by the late five-time major winner for whom the award is named.
Coincidentally, the PGA Tour’s own Byron Nelson Award for the year’s lowest scoring average is also currently held by an Irishman, world number one Rory McIlroy (69.057 for 2019) and Murphy’s honour is no less deserved.
His journey from Kinsale to Louisville went via a year at Maynooth on a Paddy Harrington Scholarship and he linked up with fellow Corkman Aaron O’Callaghan, who was an assistant coach with the Cardinals before moving to Wake Forest University.
He won two events in the Covid-19-shortened 2019-20 collegiate season and with a Louisville-record stroke average of 69.59 now holds a career average of 71.98, the third best in the university’s history.
He was also commended for his off-course contribution to the community including volunteering at the Kentucky city’s Franciscan Kitchen, an Open Adult Wheelchair Basketball event and for the Salvation Army.
"I had an unbelievable time my senior year and to know that I had an impact both on and off the golf course is immensely satisfying for me,” Murphy told the UofL website.
“Byron Nelson left a legacy like no other and to be mentioned in the same sentence as him is an honour."