After being named captain at the beginning of his sophomore golf season, Tyler Murphy – now in his senior year at Mallard Creek – is starting to figure out this whole leadership thing.
When Christopher McDonald took over the Mavericks coaching duties at the beginning of this season, it was Murphy who first approached him to introduce himself and talk about the upcoming season.
Once it was time to split the team up into its perspective pairings – No.’s 1-6 – McDonald again spoke with Murphy, and ultimately wound up turning those duties over to the senior altogether.
“The guys look up to him,” McDonald said of Murphy. “They know he’s the clear No. 1. They call him (little) Keegan Bradley (the 2011 PGA Championship winner). ... When coaches around the league heard that I took the job, they all said that I was getting a hell of a golfer in Murphy.”
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“(Being captain) has gotten easier each year,” said Murphy. “I know what works now and I’ve learned when to lay off a little. Sometimes the team didn’t like how hard I’d get on them. I’ve realized that not everyone’s style is the same as mine.”
Already accepted to N.C. State, Murphy – who carries a 4.58 GPA, good for 14th in his class – is hoping to play golf for the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., next season. His application is currently being reviewed
“I probably won’t golf if I wind up going to N.C. State,” said Murphy. “But my first choice would be the Naval Academy. I spoke to the golf coach there and he’s said that I may have a spot if I’m accepted, and if not, that I would have a good chance to walk on.”
All that’s left to do wait for the school’s decision.
As a freshman, he was the lone underclassman to travel with a varsity squad composed of golfers two-to-three years his elder.
Murphy, penciled in as the Mavericks’ No. 2 golfer on that day, went on to card a two-over-par 38 in his first varsity match.
“I had the jitters and I was playing on a new team,” said Murphy. “So I was definitely intimidated. But I ended up shooting a 38 that day, which impressed the team and helped earn me my spot and their respect.”
Murphy took up golf at a young age, thanks in large part to the urgings of his grandfather, Joe.
Joe – who plays the golf himself – signed a five-year-old Murphy up for a summer golf camp near his home in Virginia.
“We’d spend a week on the range,” said Tyler Murphy. “That’s where my love for golf started.”
By the time Murphy was in the fifth grade he had started playing competitively in tournaments up and down the East Coast
Murphy still tries to hit the links with his grandparents, who now live in South Carolina, as often as possible.
“They’re still swinging at 70 years old,” he said. “I play a few rounds with them every now and then. It’s a lot of fun for me to show them how I’ve progressed.”
Asked what his proudest moment on the golf course was, Murphy paused for a moment before recounting the tale of his third hole-in-one.
It came during last year’s Upstate Junior Classic at Smithfield Country Club in Easley, S. C., on the par-three 160-yard 13th hole.
Murphy – who hadn’t played all that well up until that point – pulled out his seven-iron and watched as the ball tracked all the way to the bottom of the cup.
“I made that shot in front of my father,” said Murphy. “He had been telling me all day to keep my chin up and on the 13th hole I hit a perfect shot. It was the first hole-in-one he’d ever seen.”