Sam Murphy sticking to the routine to defend Irish Boys Championship lead

The Portumna golfer, who turned 18 last week, is two clear at Thurles Golf Club
Sam Murphy sticking to the routine to defend Irish Boys Championship lead
Sam Murphy (Portumna) holes his birdie putt on the 18th green in the second round of the 2020 Irish Boys Under-18 Amateur Close Championship at Thurles Golf Club today. Picture by Pat Cashman

Sam Murphy will stick to his trusted formula of a singular focus and a good night’s sleep in his own bed as he prepares to take a two-stroke lead into Wednesday’s final round of the Irish Boys Championship at Thurles Golf Club.

The Portumna golfer, who turned 18 last week, posted a second-round four-under-par 68 at Thurles to reach five-under after 36 holes, two clear of Joseph Byrne from Baltinglass, before heading back just over the Tipperary/Galway border to rest up ahead of the final round.

“I only live an hour away so I’m going to head home now, I might go to Portumna, up to the range and hit a few balls,” Murphy said. 

“Do what I did yesterday, bed early and have a good night’s sleep. Basically, tomorrow I’m just going to play the course and I’m not going to play my opponents and see how it goes.” 

Murphy, who as 36-hole leader also claimed the Munster Boys title in this rearranged season, made two key putts on the front nine of his second round - a long par save, 30 or 40 feet by his reckoning, on the third followed at the next by an even longer effort, the first of six birdies on his card.

“That kept me going and I made a few key putts coming home on the back nine. I’m delighted with my round,” Murphy said.

Wicklow’s Byrne, the Irish Under-16 champion, carded a five-under second-round 67 for the lowest score of the week to date to reach three-under while Faithlegg’s Rory Milne is a further shot back in third place on two-under alongside Belvoir Park’s Luke Kelly.

Overnight 18-hole leader Gavin O’Neill is not out of it as one of two golfers on one-under-par, the Malahide golfer eagling the last to escape with a 74 after opening with a 69 on Monday.

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