GCU's Murphy competes at NCAA Regionals in Stockton

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Vinnie Murphy competed at the NCAA Pacific Regionals this week in Stockton, California. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Vinnie Murphy competed at the NCAA Pacific Regionals this week in Stockton, California. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Vinnie Murphy (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Vinnie Murphy (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Vinnie Murphy thought his college career was over. He was wrong.

The GCU senior is competing at the NCAA Pacific Regionals this week in Stockton, California. His inclusion in the NCAA postseason came as a complete and total shock.

“It was complete shock,” said Murphy. “I thought you had to win a conference championship to be selected but my coach called last week and told me I better watch the selection show because I had a chance. So I watched, saw my name pop up and now I’m ready to go.”

It’s the latest chapter in Murphy’s long and winding golf tale.

Born in Edgewood, Washington, Murphy’s father Vincent put a club in his hand at the age of two and a love affair began almost instantly. One ball after another, the 2-year-old Murphy swung and connected, swung and connected, swung and connected.

“He [Vincent] chopped down this old bubble shaft Taylor Made 3-wood,” said Murphy. “He made it about two-feet long – just the perfect size for me and I took it back and connected and from there, he was like, okay, that’s good.”

In the coming years, Vinnie Murphy would become a standout performer on Washington’s junior golf circuit. His parents making ends meet while making sure their son could compete week in and week out against the state’s best.

“They made a lot of sacrifices,” said Murphy. “We didn’t have the most money growing up and you know a lot of kids travel to junior tournaments across the country.  Fortunately, though there was enough talent up in Washington that I could stay local. Playing against the best of the best [in my home state] helped grow my game a lot.”

By age 15 however, Murphy’s love for the game was waning. Disenchanted and playing poorly, Murphy considered quitting the sport that up until then had defined his life.

“Around my sophomore year of high school, I had a lot of the top colleges recruiting me and kind of turned into like a business,” said Murphy. I started to mess with my swing and tried to make everything perfect. Throughout all that I lost my love for the game.”

Murphy though stayed the course and began playing college golf at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix.  After being named the nation’s top junior college freshman, Murphy transferred to Coastal Carolina University. With his game slipping, Murphy returned to the Valley the following year, choosing GCU over ASU. Despite a circuitous college playing career, Murphy rekindled his love for the sport in the most unique way: he’s stopped practicing and just started playing.

“Once I got back into college I just started finding that love again,” said Murphy. “I just started playing golf again – not really practicing – just playing – just going out on the course and enjoying it.”

Two years later, Murphy is two-time WAC player of the year. A summer filled with competing in amateur tournaments awaits with an eye on turning pro in the fall.

“It’s very satisfying,” said Murphy. “If you would have asked me five years ago if I’d be doing this, I would have said no way. To be here today, playing the golf I’m playing, it’s amazing.”

UPDATE: Murphy has completed regional play in Stockton, CA. Three rounds of 74-72-74. A +4 finish for the three-day regional earned Murphy a 51st place finish in the 75 player field. His 54 holes included an eagle and six birdies. 

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