Murphy shoots Sabers to third in state
BLOOMINGTON – St. Thomas More junior Ryan Murphy didn't shy away from his true feelings after Saturday's Class 1A state golf finals.
Despite individually finishing in a three-way tie for seventh place and helping his team take home a third-place state trophy, Murphy could only think about what might have been for his team.
"Our team's a little bit disappointed," Murphy said. "We wanted to come win the state title, but taking third in state is still a great accomplishment."
Murphy, who led a young Sabers squad, teed off in the second-to-last group Saturday morning after posting a first-round 73. He posted a final-round 74, which gave him a two-day total of 3-over 147.
The junior fired a front-nine 38 and followed with a 36 on the back. With birdies on Nos. 13 and 16, Murphy erased the memory of two early bogeys.
"I'm definitely happy with how I played," Murphy said. "If someone had told me I would shoot 73 and 74 I would take it. I had a couple mental mistakes but made up for them with some big birdies."
"It's very important to have a player like Ryan (Murphy)," St. Thomas More coach Tim Murphy said. "The kids look up to him knowing they can count on him. It didn't start out too well for him today, but he sucked it up and realized there was still a lot of golf to be played."
With solid first round performances from Murphy, as well senior Jeff Nogle, the Sabers were in prime position coming into Saturday, trailing the eventual state champion Byron by 2 strokes. But a state championship fluttered out of reach.
After posting a career best 75 on Friday, Nogle shot a 90 on Saturday.
"We had a really good season," Nogle said. "We finished first in regionals, first in sectionals and got some hardware in the end. The future looks really good. We have a lot of really young players and they should be lights out next year."
Junior Ian Tate scored a second round 76 for the Sabers, after shooting 89 on Day 1.
Another notable performance came from freshman Nathaniel Khachaturian, who shot an 83 on Saturday after a first round 80.
Several other area players finished high on the charts. Arcola's Mark Klinger, who played golf Friday afternoon, then led the football team to a rout of Villa Grove on Friday night, came back Saturday to finish with a two-round total of 158, good enough to tie for 24th place.
Salt Fork's Jordan Danzl (163) tied for 45th while Judah Christian's Willy Wilner and Derrick Herschberger (165) tied for 54th.