Red hot Murray


A seven-week spell of warm winter training at the Quinta del Rea Golf Club in Portugal, during February and March, has paid off for Noel Murray as he has returned fresh and in winning form.

The Massereene assistant stayed on in the sun after winning the PING Ulster Golfers' Alliance event at El Rompido and surely missing our storms has paid dividends.

Murray strode to victory, at Royal County Down, in the Assistants-in-Training Championship with a second round super 66, six-under-par.

Former tour player Brian McElhinney (Foyle) and Matt Gillis (Portadown) led on regulation 72 after the first round but Murray, who opened with a 74, slipped into gear second time round.

There were no indications over the front nine that the former Dunmurry amateur was going to go into overdrive as he reached the turn in one-under 34, with eight pars and a birdie three at the fifth hole. He picked up another birdie at the long 10th but gave that stroke back to the course at the short 11th.

Murray then pressed the pedal with birdie three at 12 before pencilling in back-to-back threes for a birdie-eagle combination at the 15th and 16th holes. He then finished in style with birdie at the long 18th for an inward run of five-under-32.

As well as winning the event, Murray collected the Fred Daly Trophy, a solid silver cup that the late Fred won many years ago.

It was handed over to the PGA Northern Branch by Fred's son Robin in 2010 when Paul Vaughan (Ardglass) was the first winner. The other winners have been DP Jones (Bushfoot) and Jason Gibson (Killymoon).

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