Palos Heights’ Murphy a hole-in-one machine
When it comes to holes-in-one Bob Murphy has done what LeBron James once promised to do for Miami Heat fans.
Not one, not two, not three ...
The Palos Heights resident did something highly unusual when he registered two aces within six days while playing rounds at two different courses in June. But that was only part of the 23-year-old’s stunning links tale.
When that happened, Murphy already had a pair of holes-in-one to his credit. But if you think he has taken that machine-like efficiency for granted, think again.
“I didn’t realize what was going on because it was hard for me to comprehend how it was possible to get two hole[s]-in-one in six days,” said Murphy, a course assistant at Bolingbrook Golf Club, the site of his most recent ace.
“I was just numbed by the feats I had accomplished.”
His hole-in-one at Bolingbrook was recorded June 17 on the 152-yard 13th hole, where Murphy used a 7-iron. That followed a June 11 ace on the 109-yard seventh hole at Zigfield Troy Golf Club in Woodridge, a shot into the wind made with a pitching wedge. Murphy was playing a practice round before participating in the Zigfield Troy Open.
At Bolingbrook, Murphy’s feat occurred shortly after he had gotten off work.
“We’ve had about 27 events at the golf course in June so I’ve been really busy with that,” he said. “All the stress [associated] with that took away all the stress from the game and it kind of evened out and it was easier to play. I was so focused on work that my golf swing became second nature.
“That was one of the advantages of working so much.”
Murphy took up golf 14 years ago. His first hole-in-one came in 2005 while he was a freshman at Stagg. One day before Halloween he and a friend sneaked in their last round of the season at Silver Lake’s Rolling Hills course, where Murphy nailed a 123-yard shot on the eighth hole.
“I didn’t think I would have ever gotten one because I was just constantly trying too hard,” Murphy said. “When I started to relax, that’s when my game suddenly improved because I wasn’t thinking about it too much. [But] when I did get one it was definitely a surprise. I was just ecstatic when I got my first one.”
Golf became a high priority for Murphy but not his top sports-related one. That was football, which he played at Stagg — at least until an injury caused him to adjust his plans. When he was unable to join the football squad in the fall of 2008, Murphy turned his attention to the course.
“My senior year I made the [Chargers] golf team and that’s when I decided to go into golf because it was my passion,” he said. “And I made a career out of it. Before I got injured golf had been, outside of football, my No. 1 priority.”
He continued his education at Professional Golfers Career College in Orlando, Fla., where he earned his associate’s degree in professional golf management. While in Florida Murphy drained his second hole-in-one on the 185-yard No. 4 hole at Panther Lake Golf Course in Winter Garden on Oct. 14, 2010.
“I was just in awe,” Murphy said. “It had been so long since I got the first one it didn’t cross my mind until I had the second hole-in-one. I know most people don’t even get one and I [had] two at that point, so I was pretty relieved and excited at the same time because it’s a feat all by itself.”
After earning his associate’s degree, Murphy graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stout with a bachelor’s degree in golf enterprise management. His goal by age 30 is to be either a PGA-certified master professional or a teaching instructor at a high-end facility.
“If I don’t do anything else in my golfing career at least I have [the holes-in-one] to fall back on and tell people about,” Murphy said. “It makes me feel pretty accomplished, and I’m only 23.”