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Murphy signs letter with OSU

ROGUE RIVER — In the nearly six months since Kevin Murphy announced his intention to attend Oregon State University on a golf scholarship, nothing came close to changing the Rogue River High senior's mind.

So he made it official on Friday, signing a letter of intent with the Beavers during a school assembly.

"I'm really excited," said Murphy, 18. "I'm getting more excited as it goes along. I've already got the first tournament dates in September. It'll be right as I get there. I'll go there and start practicing before school starts."

Murphy picked OSU over Oregon. He also made an official visit to Arizona State and had a number of other schools express interest.

He and Beaver coach Jon Reehoorn hit it off from the start, and he determined Oregon State was the best fit for him.

In a story in June, he said he let most schools know that he wouldn't be traveling far from home.

"I kind of knew I wanted to stay in Oregon," he said.

Reehoorn was prohibited from being at the assembly Friday, but it was well attended by family, friends and classmates.

During the 20-minute ceremony, Principal Jesse Pershin, golf instructor Ed Fisher and Rogue River boys golf coach Mike Sovine spoke on Murphy's behalf, praising his work ethic and citing his example of what hard work and good grades can result in.

Murphy then spoke, thanking his family and the community for the support he's received since entering the public school system two years prior. He was previously homeschooled.

"It went really well," said Murphy. "I was a little nervous, but I'm getting better with that kind of stuff. Two years ago, when I first started going to public school, if I had to do that it would have been really hard."

Murphy is expected to contribute as soon as he hits the OSU campus, perhaps as one of its top players.

The Beavers won two tournaments last year, placed fifth in the Pac-12 Conference championships and advanced to the NCAA regionals for the sixth straight year. This fall, they had a win and a runner-up in five events.

Three of the Beavers' best players are seniors.

"We're going to have a young team," said Murphy.

There is still plenty of golf to play before he gets there.

It starts next week, when Murphy will play in the Jones Cup Junior Invitational at Sea Island Golf Club in Sea Island, Ga. The three-day tournament, an American Junior Golf Association ranked event, starts next Friday and brings together 78 of the nation's top juniors.

Murphy will later set out to defend the Class 3A/2A/1A state championship he garnered last spring, after two years of placing second. He'll play in assorted tournaments next summer and — depending on his OSU obligations — hopes to compete for the fourth time in the Southern Oregon Golf Championships.

Last Labor Day, Murphy claimed his second straight title in the SOGC men's regular division with a dominating performance.

Murphy is looking into occasional caddie work at Bandon Dunes to help pay for some of the tournaments he plans to enter.

"That's one thing I really want to do," said Murphy, who caddied a time or two around his matches in the SOGC last summer. "It would be something that's really enjoyable."

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email ttrower@mailtribune.com