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Murphy uses her college vacation time to add another trophy to her collection

Posted: December 31, 2014 11:11 a.m.
Updated: January 2, 2015 1:00 a.m.
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FORMER L-E STANDOUT and current Auburn freshman Kelli Murphy battled tough conditions to win the Carolinas Young Amateur Championship in a tournament played earlier this week in Pinehurst.

PINEHURST, N.C. -- Kelli Murphy turned part of her Christmas vacation into a busman’s holiday as the Elgin resident and Auburn University freshman won the women’s division of the seventh Carolinas Young Amateur played over the Magnolia course at Pinewild Country Club in Pinehurst, N.C.

A former standout golfer at and a 2014 graduate of Lugoff-Elgin High school, Murphy battled cold temperatures, rugged playing conditions and tough competitors to add another tournament title to her growing list.

Murphy, a freshman playing collegiate golf at Auburn, had to go extra holes to win the women’s division. Murphy and Emily Brooks of Chapel Hill, N.C., both finished tied with a 36-hole total of even par 144. Murphy opened with a 2-under par 70 on her first round before shooting a 2-over par 72 on her second 18 holes.

Brooks, a junior on the Elon golf team, missed two good chances for the win missing makeable birdie putts on the first two playoff holes, but it was Murphy who took advantage her opportunity and made a great birdie on the tough par three twelfth hole. Defending champion Sarah Bae of Pinehurst, N.C., finished one shot out of the playoff at 145.

This annual championship is conducted by the Carolinas Golf Association for amateur golfers who are 18 to 24 years of age and have finished high school.

Murphy enjoyed a strong fall campaign for the Tigers in her first college season. She tied for 12th in her first collegiate tournament, shooting 77-72-74=223 (+7) at the "Mo" Morial, helping Auburn to a team title. She then shot 75-74-75=224 (+8) at the Mason Rudolph Championship to tie for 26th.

The four-year letterwinner and All-State selection while playing for the L-E boys’ golf team then tied for 56th at Tar Heel Invitational with 76-75-78=229 (+13) before shooting an even-par 69-73-74=216 to tie for 21st at Alamo Invitational. Murphy’s scores counted toward the Tigers’ team score 11 times in her 12 rounds. She closed the fall with a 74.33 scoring average.

Prior to arriving at Auburn, Murphy qualified for 2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur and competed at 2012 and 2013 U.S. Girls’ Junior, reaching the quarterfinals in 2012. A four-time winner and defending champion of the of the Columbia Women’s City Championship, she won the 2013 South Carolina Caddie Classic and caddied for Nancy Lopez at 2013 Monday After The Masters Pro-Am. Murphy won the 2011 and 2013 Carolina Junior Girls Championship and was runner-up in that event in 2012. Last summer, she finished seventh at 2014 Women’s TRANS Amateur, recording a hole-in-one in the final round.

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