Indian Valley’s Murphy wins with walk-off eagle
Don’t make mistakes. Put pressure on the reigning Delaware State Golf Association Amateur Champion. See how he responds.
Those thoughts flooded Eric Murphy’s mind as he battled Dawson Anders in Indian Valley Country Club’s Men’s Championship Final Aug. 9, 2020. He, however, felt the pressure on No. 17, the match’s 35th hole.
Murphy stood dormie yet found the fairway bunker with a 2-iron on the dogleg left par 4. Anders, meanwhile, knocked his approach — a wedge from 120 yards— to six feet for a surefire birdie.
With 113 yards to a front hole location, Murphy grabbed a gap wedge, hoping to delegate spin on a back-to-front sloping green. A pressure shot transformed into a moment he’ll never forget.
Walk-off eagle for the win.
“I figured I was going to No. 18 with Dawson. He was starting to get hot; you could tell,” Murphy, 34, of Telford, Pa., said. “After it went in, I think Dawson was more excited than I was. I don’t even remember seeing it go in, to be honest. I just heard everyone screaming and yelling. Once I figured out that it actually went in, I thought, ‘Thank God it’s over’ because I was tired.”
“I thought I had a serious chance to come back,” Anders, 22, of Telford, Pa., added. “He hits this bunker shot that lands 15 feet behind the pin and has some serious spin on it. I started raising my club and thinking, ‘This might go in.’ It smacks the flagstick and goes in. I freak out like I always do whenever someone holes a shot from the fairway. I go over to Eric and give him a fist bump. ‘Dude, that was awesome.’”
Forgive Murphy for his fatigue. After all, he played alongside Anders in the event’s stroke-play qualifier and knew the mountain he needed to eventual scale.
“Dawson’s just very special. He’s a rising star. That kid has a lot going for him,” Murphy, who owns a property/casualty/commercial insurance company, said. “He shot 69 in the [men’s championship stroke-play] qualifier and it should’ve been 64. He’s got that kind of horsepower to him. I knew that if I hung in there, then anything could happen. That was kind of my mindset going into the Final.”
After nine holes, Murphy seemingly hung by a thread at 3-down. Wins on Nos. 14, 17 and 18, however, afforded a clean slate for the final 18. Murphy capitalized on a few Anders’ mistakes to achieve dormie status on the match’s 34th hole. He, however, three-putted for bogey on the downhill par 3, thus triggering a shift in that pressure pendulum.
Then came the excavation eagle.
“It was the only fitting way to end the match,” Anders, a Temple University senior, said. “We ended up having a 15-minute celebration in the fairway.”
“Everyone was going nuts,” Murphy added. “There was a boatload of people out there watching the whole day. I think it was the match they wanted to see when the bracket came out. Luckily it happened. It was a fun match with a lot of respect.”
Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The Association’s 288 Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.