Murphy fashions a 64 at RVCC
A return to his home area agreed with Kevin Murphy.
Just days after competing in an international tournament in San Diego, the Rogue River teenage golfer shot a 64 in the first round of the Southern Oregon Junior at Rogue Valley Country Club Monday.
Murphy had nothing higher than a 4 on his score card, making an eagle and six birdies — four of the birdies coming on the par 5s.
It's the lowest round of the 17-year-old's career. His previous best was a course-record 65 at Eagle Point Golf Club in April during the high school season.
"My driver was pretty good but not extra good," said Murphy. "My irons were pretty good. But I was hitting my wedges close no matter where I was, and my chipping was good. I had a lot of tap-in birdies. Pretty much all my birdies were five feet and in."
Murphy leads the Junior Division (ages 16-17) by five shots over Kevin Knox.
Medford's Dylan Wu turned in a 67 and leads the Boys Division (14-15), while his brothers Jeremy and Joshua are one-two in the Intermediate Boys with scores of 73 and 74, respectively.
John Pollock heads the Pee Wee Boys with a 38.
Hannah Swanson tops the Girls Division (15-17) with an even-par 73. Kylie Collum's 79 paced the Intermediate Girls (12-14), and May Wang leads the Pee Wee Girls (8-11) with a 45.
The two-day tournament, which attracted 110 players, concludes today.
Eagle Point is host to a junior tournament on Wednesday.
Last week, Murphy tied for 21st in the Callaway Junior World Championships on the South Course at Torrey Pines, site of the 2008 U.S. Open and an annual stop for the PGA Tour.
The Southern California course played as long as 7,258 yards during the four-round event, which had 211 boys in Murphy's division.
The gold tees in use for the Southern Oregon Junior measure 6,300 yards.
"It felt really good," said Murphy. "I knew it would be easy coming back from Torrey Pines and playing a course like this. I didn't know it would be 64-easy. It was nice. It made me feel a lot better about my game. I felt like I'm definitely improving. We'll see how it goes tomorrow."
Murphy's final round at the Junior Worlds was a 77, his worst of the four. But he wasn't far off the lead throughout the tournament and came away realizing he could compete with top junior players in the world.
On Monday, the junior-to-be at Rogue River High made the turn at 3-under 33, birdieing the first, third and eighth holes. He then shot 5-under 31 on the back.
The highlight was an eagle-2 on the 349-yard 15th hole. He chipped in following a 300-yard drive.
Murphy nearly made a 20-foot eagle putt on the next hole, a 461-yard par 5, but settled for birdie.
His other back-nine birdies were at Nos. 10 and 12.
"I really didn't make any long putts," he said. "The longest was probably 12 feet."
Murphy's goal was to get to double digits under par, and he's well on his way.
"I just have to keep it up, and I should be able to do that," he said.
Murphy tees off at 11:40 a.m. today. He also plans to play in the Eagle Point tournament.
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email firstname.lastname@example.org