Murphy birdies final four holes to nab Cowlitz Am title

In terms of playing golf at a pretty high level, Puyallup’s Vinnie Murphy had a succinct assessment of his recent showing.

“Been a good little stretch,” he said.

Indeed, it has.

Weeks after capturing the Fort Lewis Amateur title, Murphy - a former Puyallup High School standout now at Grand Canyon University in Arizona - was at it again Monday.

Locked in a battle with Matt Hartley, Murphy birdied the final hole of regulation, then birdied all three of the sudden-death playoff holes to win the second annual Cowlitz County Amateur crown Monday at Three Rivers Golf Course in Longview.

Both golfers finished the three-round event at 10-under 202.

Murphy sunk a 7-foot putt for birdie on the finishing par 5 to force the playoff. They returned to the 18th hole.

And again, both birdied - this time Murphy chipped up close from in front of the green for a tap-in putt.

The second extra hole was at No. 1, also a par 5. Murphy two-putted from 20 feet for another birdie.

It all was settled on No. 2, a par 4. From just less than 100 yards, Murphy knocked a wedge approach close, and rolled in the 10-footer for the victory.

It has been a whirlwind year for Murphy, who transferred after a semester at Coastal Carolina to Grand Canyon, where is is redshirting. He will start his junior season in late August.

“It’s been nice to be out at practice, and not worry about being under the gun,” Murphy said.

Murphy said he had gotten too mechanical with his swing, so he has followed a simple mantra in these tournaments the past few weeks.

“Just wing it, and free-wheel it,” he said. “Just ripping it.”