Murphy wins Jim Rivers with Burns by his side

Sam Murphy took home the title.

With PGA Tour professional Sam Burns walking the final 11 holes with him, Louisiana Tech senior Sam Murphy shot a final round 67 to claim the individual title at the 2021 Jim Rivers Intercollegiate at Squire Creek Golf Course.

Murphy tied the Jim Rivers Intercollegiate three-round record of 13-under-par 203, recording back-to-back 68s on Sunday and Monday before firing the impressive 67 during Tuesday’s final round. He won in a field that included 119 competitors.

The Decatur, Alabama, native said having Burns on the course with him was a memorable and valuable experience.

“It was a blast,” said Murphy. “We had so much fun. For him to be out here for us was so awesome on his part. We talked through shots. He didn’t meet me until hole No. 8 today. He said, ‘Okay, no matter the shot the rest of the way we are going to be committed. No matter what the result.’ So that’s what I tried to do all day. I just committed to every shot.”

Burns’ advice and Murphy’s execution worked as he fired a 32 on the back nine to pull away and win by four strokes over Southern Miss’ Hunter Atkins.

“Having Sam (Burns) out there with him, walking and talking through shots, hearing the same things I tell him but having it come from a PGA Tour player … it just strengthens that message,” said Tech head coach Matt Terry.

After a fast start on Tuesday that saw Murphy record birdies on three of the first four holes, he bogeyed No. 5 and double bogeyed No. 6 to fall back to second place. However, he recovered with a birdie on seven and never looked back.

“When I doubled No. 6 … I birdie that hole five out of six times when we are just playing out here,” said Murphy. “I didn’t let it affect me. I felt I could make a few mistakes and still get away with it. The bounce back birdie on seven was big for me. That kind of kept the momentum on my side because I was playing good golf. I just made a few simple mistakes on back-to-back holes.”

Murphy recorded birdies on 11, 13, 14 and 15 before finishing the round with three straight pars. His five-under-par total came in rainy conditions.

“Golf is not a very ideal sport to play when it rains,” said Murphy. “It was a very annoying rain too. It was a wet rain I guess you could say. No wind. When it rained, it just stayed. It didn’t affect me a ton. It honestly kept me focused and didn’t allow my mind to wonder.”

The win marked Murphy’s second collegiate individual title after winning the LaTour Intercollegiate in the 2020-21 season.

“I’m pumped for Sam,” said Terry. “He’s just playing really good golf right now. He held it together well. I expect him to do that a lot this year.”

As a team, Tech finished in fourth place with a three-round team total of 10-under 854, trailing only LSU (841), UTSA (848) and Southern Miss (851). The Bulldogs finished ahead of 16 other teams in the event.

“Overall, it was good,” said Terry about the team performance. “We weren’t very clean today. We made a few too many mistakes.”

Junior Hunter Battles also finished in the top-15 after ending the tournament tied for 11th with a -3 (72-69-72=213). Rounding out the Tech’s first team scorers were fifth-year senior Mac Murphy +7, (74-73-76=223, t-58th), senior James Swash +7 (72-76-75=223, t-58th) and junior Lake Juban +14 (82-69-79=230, 99th).

Photo: Tom Morris


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