Gary Murphy hopes some magic sticks will help him save his tour card with a last gasp Singapore fling.
The Kilkenny man, 38, tees it up on a sponsor’s invitation in the $6m (€4.2m) Barclays Singapore Open needing a top-five finish in the penultimate event of the season to avoid his 10th trip to the dreaded Qualifying School.
Nearly €180,000 outside the top 115 who keep their cards, Murphy said: “It is a huge opportunity for me to pull it out of the fire because the prize fund is massive.
“Playing great in a small event wouldn’t make any difference to where I am in the money list, but a good week in Singapore would be huge. I probably need a top-five finish to keep my card.”
Murphy has made just six cuts this year after a nightmare struggle with his equipment. But he believes that teaming up with top club-maker Derek Murray could save him from the agony of Q-School
Murphy explained: “I had some issues finding the right shafts so I went back to Derek Murray at ForeGolf who used to make up my clubs for me and it’s made a big difference. He’s the best in the business.
“He made me up a new set of blades and they’ve been great in practice. The trick now is to bring that into tournament play.”
Naas-based Murray is the first Irish winner of the World Clubmaker of the Year title and he reckons he’s given Murphy the weapons to make a killing at Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore.
Murray said: “Gary was using shafts that were too stiff. They didn’t give him enough feel, so he couldn’t track the clubhead during the swing and couldn’t shape shots.
“He’s been scoring a lot better since we built him a new set of RAC MB TPs, so fingers crossed for him this week.”
Murphy’s season has been so bad that he’s 236th in the money list and faces a trip to stage two of the Q-School later this month if he fails to make the top 145 money winners.
He must win at least €80,000 this week to avoid PQ-2 but insisted that he’s even more ambitious.
I know I’ll be going to second stage if I don’t get a top-10 but the plan is to try an avoid Q-School altogether,” he said. “I hit the ball really well in Singapore last year but I holed nothing on the greens and missed the cut by a shot. Maybe Singapore owes me one.”
After a top-five in the HSBC Champions, Rory McIlroy has pulled out of this week’s tournament Singapore and headed back to Belfast to rest before next week’s Hong Kong Open.
Graeme McDowell leads the 10-strong Irish challenge and a win worth €713,165 would see him leap-frog Martin Kaymer, who extended his lead over the Ulsterman at the top of the Race to Dubai standings to €531,806 on Sunday.
The top-60 after next week’s Hong Kong Open qualify for the season-ending Dubai World Championship. And that means that 62nd ranked Shane Lowry needs two big weeks to join McIlroy and Singapore swingers McDowell, Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke, Damien McGrane, Peter Lawrie and Gareth Maybin at the end of term party.
Irish in the Race to Dubai standings *(events played)
1 Martin Kaymer (20) €3,207,229
2 Graeme McDowell (21) €2,675,423
13 Rory McIlroy (14) €1,375,399
18 Padraig Harrington (12) €1,108,967
28 Darren Clarke (25) €820,890
32 Damien McGrane (28) €736,583
35 Peter Lawrie (29) €711,805
38 Gareth Maybin (24) €709,640
62 Shane Lowry (29) €492,528
92 Michael Hoey (25) €291,035
121 Paul McGinley (21) €155,610
136 Simon Thornton (22) €116,954
195 Colm Moriarty (5) €43,770
236 Gary Murphy (26) €19,152