Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications
NORMAN, Okla. – Louisiana Tech’s Sam Murphy shot in the red for a second consecutive day, firing a 70 (-2) in round two of the NCAA Norman Regional on Tuesday to move up 10 spots on the leaderboard into a tied for eighth at the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club.
“Round two was better,” said Murphy. “I hit the ball really well. Made a couple simple mistakes that are easy to fix. I rolled the ball really well and executed some quality golf shots. The conditions were tough.
“Starting out they were not too bad, but about halfway through the round the wind got up and made the round difficult to play. It completely changed the whole golf course from yesterday. For tomorrow, I hope to give myself as many opportunities as possible.”
Murphy, who is now at -3 for the tournament, got off to a better start than yesterday by making birdie on the 173-yard Par 3 No. 2 after hitting a beautiful iron to within about five feet.
He did run into trouble at No. 4, missing the fairway on his drive and then firing his approach shot over the green into the rough. He would go on to make double bogey.
However, the fifth-year senior responded as he did much of the day. On the longest hole of the course, the 627-yard Par 5 No. 5, he got to within 13 yards after his second shot. He followed that up by knocking in his chip for eagle to back to -1.
“He hit it really well today,” said Tech head coach Matt Terry. “There was an error here and there, but overall he had a great round. He putted the ball really well. The bounce-back eagle after the double and then the two bounce-back birdies after bogeys were great. That shows a lot of maturity in his game and the way he is playing. I look for more of the same tomorrow. He just needs to keep giving himself plenty of chances and see what the day brings.”
Murphy made four consecutive pars to close out the front nine, but started out the back nine with a bang by sinking back-to-back birdies. The first one came on the short 322-yard Par 4 No. 10 when he hit a wedge to within four feet before tapping in. He then connected on his longest putt of the day, a 25-footer for birdie on the difficult 445-yard Par 4 No. 11.
The conditions really started to change from then on as the wind really picked up, changing the golf course. He would bogey 190-yard Par 3 No. 12 after missing the green to the left, but he countered with birdie on the 594-yard Par 5 No. 13 by rolling in a downhill 10-footer.
After another bogey, this one a three-putt on the 260-yard Par 3 No. 15, he bounced back yet again by sneaking in another putt on the 425-yard Par 4 No. 16.
Murphy gave another shot back though on the 485-yard Par 4 No. 17 after hitting it into the fairway bunker. He closed out the round by making par on the 586-yard Par 5 No. 18, putting himself in position to try and qualify for the NCAA Nationals. To do so, he needs to finish as the top overall individual on a team that does not finish in the top five.
Photo by Kane McGuire