Mary Murphy of WatervilleMark Murphy could be playing as far away as Peru and Colombia this season. Picture via golfchannel.comMark Murphy wasn’t all that impressed with his game but he was still inside the crucial top 20 after an opening 72 in the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Q-School in Florida.

The Waterville man was three-over after eight holes following a run of four bogeys and just one birdie at Sun N Lake Golf Club’s Deer Run Course. Leaderboard

But he dug deep to pick up shots at the 10th, 12th and 16th to finish the day in a 10-way tie for 19th, six shots adrift of leader Jhared Hack of the United States.

Having failed to come through the Q-School on the Europen Tour and the PGA Tour last season, Murphy is looking for a way to get his foot on the ladder in the US.

He’s just one of 126 players in the field in Sebring who will bid for twenty spots on this season’s PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.

If he comes through, the former Irish amateur international will play a 15-tournament schedule in nine countries for weekly purses of $150,000, starting in mid-March.

In common with the mini tours in Europe, the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica will give its top-5 - “Los Cinco” – a spot on the second tier tour next year. In this case its the Tour.

According to the PGA TOUR:

Players ranked 6-10 on the 2013 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season ending Order of Merit will be exempt to play the final stage of the Tour’s 2014 Qualifying Tournament.

The top 60 players on the 2013 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season ending Order of Merit will be exempt to keep their card for the 2014 season of PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.

Subject to final approval, there will be some sort of eligibility on PGA TOUR Canada for the top performers from the first half of the 2013 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season.