Murphy scrapes in for weekend

By Brian Keogh

Gary Murphy made the cut by the skin of his teeth as David Higgins led the Irish challenge at the Scandinavian Masters in Stockholm.

Battling to keep his card at 90th in the Order of Merit, Murphy crashed from 13th to 56th after a shocking 75 at Arlandastad.

But he did enough to make the three-over par cut on the mark and guarantee a cheque that should ensure his tour survival next season.

As the Kilkenny man was going backwards, Waterville ace Higgins moved to within just three shots of the lead thanks to his second 69 on the trot.

Buoyed by an eagle three at the 15th, Higgins is tied for eighth place on two-under par behind pace-setters Sam Walker of England, Swede Henrik Nystrom and Germany's Martin Kaymer.

Damien McGrane is on level par and Dubliner Peter Lawrie a shot further back after both men hit level par rounds of 70.

South African James Kingston is just one stroke off the lead after a 68 with England's Nick Dougherty two adrift after a rollercoaster 69 that featured two bogeys and a double bogey in his first four holes.

Dougherty responded with an eagle and four birdies in testing conditions and confessed that he kept his cool thanks to the work he did with a sports psychologist at the USPGA Championship last week.

The Liverpudlian said: "I didn't get flustered by my bad start where in the past I tended to push harder when I'm struggling.
"Tiger does it perfectly. I watched the TV coverage last week after I missed the cut and on the 12th hole in the third round Tiger hits an iron down the middle and a great shot to 10 feet.

" Scott Verplank hits a driver, ends up in the rough and trees and makes a double bogey, and then follows that with more bogeys, whereas Tiger just keeps going because he has good momentum and he is comfortable with what he is doing.

"That is significant and I've tried to apply it this week. It has paid dividends and if I'd had the mindset I have now, I'd have won in Singapore in March."

Two-time major winner John Daly failed to live up to his star billing, missing the cut by four shots after a poor 75.