JOHN Murphy tees off life on the European Challenge Tour this Thursday in France – and he’s ready to hit the ground running.
The Kinsale golfer (22) will compete at the Open de Bretagne in France (June 24th to 27th) and this is one of seven European Challenge Tour events he will play over the next few months.
The Challenge Tour is a stepping stone to the European Tour and that is Murphy’s ultimate target, but he knows he must walk before he can run.
‘My main focus is on the Challenge Tour and to get the ranking status that I need to progress on to the European Tour,’ explains Murphy, who turned pro earlier this month.
‘I know it’s not as easy as getting a tour card straightaway, there will be a lot of patience and persistence required but that is something I am willing to give to get to where I want to go.
‘It’s going to take time and I have a long way to go, but this is another step in the right direction. Hopefully I’ll find my feet in the pro ranks pretty soon.’
Judging by his tournament-winning performance at last week’s Northern Ireland Open, Murphy will be right at home in the pro ranks. His first professional win was impressive: a four-shot victory at Cairndhu in Antrim after carding a 67 and 68 over the two days for a five-under par total.
That triumph has earned Murphy a spot at the European Tour’s ISPS HANDA World Invitational at Galgorm Castle from July 29th to August 1st – and the chance to get first-hand experience of a European Tour event.
‘My main focus is the Challenge Tour and getting a ranking, but it will be great to dip my toes into the water of a European Tour event because that’s where I plan to be in the not-too-distant future. It’s on home soil too, in Antrim, so some of my family will be able to come and watch.’
Before that, it’s all about the Challenge Tour and finding his feet as a pro golfer, beginning in France this week. The top 20 players at the end of the season earn their place in the following year’s European Tour. Murphy is realistic about the path that lies ahead, but is confident he has what it takes to make an impact.
‘I have never entered a tournament where I felt I didn’t have a chance of winning so I feel if I can play my golf then I will be there or thereabouts,’ he says.