Sam Murphy did more than just hang onto his overnight lead at the Irish Boys Championship, the Portumna teenager disappeared over the horizon from the rest of the field in Thurles on Wednesday.
Murphy, who turned 18 last week, had taken a two-stroke lead into the third and final round in Tipperary thanks to a four-under-par 68 on Tuesday. Yet there was no thought about protecting that lead and his attacking strategy reaped dividends with a bogey-free seven-under-par 65, the round of the week to clinch the coveted national title.
It gave Murphy an eight-shot victory on 12 under par as the chasing pack were reduced to a contest for the minor places from an early stage in the final day’s proceedings. Belvoir Park’s Luke Kelly finished runner-up on four under, with a tie for third place on two under between Cork’s Morgan Cain and Daniel Mulligan of Laytown and Bettystown.
Murphy, who had picked up the Munster Boys title for leading after 36 holes in this much-rearranged season, had made the turn two under for his final round and then sank five birdies on the way home to a back-nine of 31.
“I’m over the moon now, I’m stuck for words,” he said. “It’s been a really good day, I played really well. It’s everyone’s dream as boy golfer to win an Irish Under 18 Championship and I’m lucky enough to do it.
“I kept an eye on the scoreboard but all I wanted to do was keep making birdies so I did that. I birdied 16, going seven clear, so I was pretty comfortable coming down the last two. I just wanted to go as low as I possibly could today and see how much I could win by.”
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