Azalea: Win a stepping stone for Murphy?
Calling it the biggest win of his amateur golf
career, South Carolina's Will Murphy hopes
the Azalea Invitational leads to even more
Currently the 140th-ranked player in the
Golfweek Men's NCAA rankings and No. 122 in
the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com U.S. Player
Rankings, Murphy has found himself in
contention for much of the last two years.
He finished tied for seventh at last year's
Palmetto Amateur and logged Top 25s at the
Southeastern Amateur, Rice Planters and
Oglethorpe Invitational. For the Gamecocks
this school year, Murphy was sixth at the Rees
Jones Invitational, fourth at the Seahawk
Invitational and 11th at the Hootie at Bulls Bay
The win over a loaded field filled with some of
the nation's top mid-amateurs and juniors --
as well as a large volume of his NCAA
contemporaries -- might just be the stepping
stone he's been looking for.
"I've been putting myself in contention a lot
but just haven't been able to get the job
done," Murphy said. "All along, my game has
been where I wanted it to be but the Azalea
gives me the confidence I need.
"Knowing that I can pull it out under pressure
in tournaments that I'm in down the road is a
Murphy shot 67 in Friday's second round to
within four shots over co-leaders Brennan
and Michael Johnson. After Saturday's play
was rained out, Murphy went low again,
shooting a 3-under 68 to enter the clubhouse
as the leader.
When North Florida's M.J. Maguire buried a
lengthy putt on 18 to force a playoff, Murphy
was ready. He two-putted for par on the par-4
1st hole at the Country Club of Charleston and
had his biggest win to date.
WET WEATHER AGAIN MAKES AN
An early spring event anywhere in the U.S. is
ultimately a coin flip when talking about the
weather forecast but next year, the Azalea
should be due for a dry week.
For the second straight year, wet weather
made a major impact on the event. Saturday's
play was wiped out and rain and the wet
conditions were factors on Friday and in
Sunday's final round.
In the end, though, the entire field has to play
"It was really windy Sunday and not the
greatest of conditions," Murphy said. "I told
myself that patience was the main thing.
Knowing that bogeys and bad things were
going to happen, I was able to keep my
emotions in check.
"Playing in the rain is never easy, but having
the patience to do well in those conditions
The 2013 event was shortened to just 36
holes due to heavy rains that swept through
the Charleston area.
COUNTRY CLUB OF CHARLESTON
Despite the tough weather, the historic Seth
Raynor design held up well.
Just under 6,600 yards, it challenged the field
of long college athletes and tested them with
Tournament director David Humphreys said
before the event that the course would play
fast and firm. Although rain softened things up
a bit, the layout held up to Humphrey's
"The course isn't very long and if you stay in
the fairway off the tee, you'll have a lot of
wedges in," said Johnson, a redshirt
at Auburn, who shot 66 on Friday. "But the
greens are tough."
Murphy, who played in his first Azalea but had
previously played the Country Club of
Charleston during his junior days, thought the
course was in excellent shape.
"It was in the best shape I'd ever seen it," he
said. "The greens were fast but because of the
rain, still receptive. That's a great
The Country Club of Charleston underwent a
redesign and restoration in 2006 and hosted
the U.S. Women's Amateur last summer.