BY DYLAN MANGAN
JOHN Murphy enjoys the pressure that comes with golf.
‘I love waking up and feeling instantly nervous,’ he says, speaking to the Star Sport Podcast this week. ‘That means that you’re in a good position and doing something well.’
He is in Sweden this week preparing for another tournament on the Challenge Tour – his 21st in what has been a busy year.
In his first year as a full professional, the 24-year-old from Kinsale has made his debut on the PGA Tour, played in his first Irish Open, secured consecutive top three finishes on the Challenge Tour and even found time to accept an invitation to the JP McManus Pro-Am in July.
‘It’s been a busy summer,’ he says, and there has been a lot to get used to.
‘This is my first full year at it and I’m learning a lot about myself and my energy preservation and how I can mentally prepare for these stretches of golf coming up.
‘This is my sixth tournament in a row, sixth week in a row where I’m on the road – new house every week, new AirBnb, new hotel, so certainly there’s some adjustment with regards to that.’
And while the summer is coming to a close, the season is just hotting up.
John has eight tournaments left to play in the ‘Road to Mallorca’ – the race between golfers on the Challenge Tour to finish in the top 20 and earn a place on the European Tour.
He is currently ranked 26th after two top-three finishes in the Irish and Finnish Challenge tournaments recently meant he shot into contention. But for John, the focus has been on his game, not his number.
‘Once you turn professional, as kind of sad as it sounds, you’re kind of defined by your ranking, by your position, by where you’re standing. That’s one element that I’ve done a really good job of straying away from and as cliché as it sounds just focusing on trying to get better every day.’
Those two great performances have given him the confidence to push on for the rest of the season, after some tough results earlier in the year.
‘There was a lot of disappointment in there,’ he says. ‘I played in my first Irish open, it didn’t go according to plan. I played my PGA Tour debut – didn’t go according to plan.’
Other golfers may have looked to change something, especially after a tough at the start of the summer which left some asking questions. John and his team stuck with what they were doing, and it’s paying off.
‘I’m very happy with how I’ve dealt with the year so far given that it wasn’t going how I hoped and it would’ve been easy for us to hit the panic button and be like we need to do this, we need to change this, but no – I trusted what I was doing, trusted the advice that was being given around me and I feel good about my game now.’
The good results in recent weeks have left John full of confidence, and he says that the experience of coming close to winning will help going forward.
‘It’s always nice to be in contention for tournaments – nobody wants to be making the cut and finishing 40th in events. Once you’re in contention for tournaments you get a different buzz off it, a different feeling waking up in the morning.’
For now, the focus is on the Indoor Golf Group Challenge in Helsingborg, and ensuring those nerves keep coming.