Justice Murphy signs with Bryan College

Jan. 28, 2013 @ 04:22 PM

Eagles golfer Justice Murphy will continue his golf career at Bryan College in Dayton.

The 2011 state qualifier is the only Seymour boys golfer to earn a spot at the state tournament since the school moved up to AAA. He’s also the first to sign with a college team since Andrew Ramsey inked with Walters State in 2009.

Choosing Bryan was simple for Murphy, who’s helped the Eagles stake claim to four of the last five Sevier County golf titles.

“I went down there and visited, and I really like it,” he said Thursday morning during his signing at SHS. “I felt like it was home. The coach (Peter Bollant) welcomed me in, and I really liked what I saw. 

“He told me that I had the potential to play freshman year, and that really made me more motivated to go there.”

After initially being undecided about even participating in high school golf, Murphy has grown by leaps and bounds in his time at Seymour.

“Going into freshman year I really wasn’t sure I wanted to play golf,” Murphy admitted. “I went out to try out, and coach (Gary) Householder saw something and said, ‘We’ve got to keep him.’ I’m glad he did and took that chance on me. I’ve improved steadily over my four years, and I’ve been blessed to get to this point where I can go on to the next level and play.”

Perhaps Murphy’s greatest highlight at Seymour was his performance in the Region 1 championships at Millstone Golf Club in 2011.

“That was a pretty good highlight,” Murphy laughed. “I put together a pretty good round of golf there, managed to keep my head on and made kind of a Tiger-like move at the end.” After playing great golf and nearing the end of the course in second place, Murphy hit a ball out of bounds on the 15th hole and found himself falling from par to two-over.

“I was tied for third, which would have put me in a playoff for state, which wouldn’t have been ideal,” he said. “I was thinking, ‘I’ve got to do something, I’ve only got three holes left.’”

Murphy went to work.

“I made a miraculous birdie on 17. I hit a bad drive, and managed to make a really good putt to save me. That was probably my highlight, that second (approach) shot on 17.”

With a 73, Justice claimed the third place spot to himself and earned a berth at state, where he finished in the lower half of the standings.

“(The region performance) got me to my goal (of reaching state). Obviously, I would have liked to competed a little better at state, but to be one of the few players in Seymour history to make it there, it was a very nice thing to have under my belt.

“I’ve enjoyed my four years here. It’s been a very good experience,” Murphy said.

It’s been a good experience for the Eagles having Murphy as well.

With a work ethic that is second to none, Murphy has been a good example to his teammates, according to Householder.

“What always impressed me, if he struggled in a round somewhere, he didn’t get mad and take off, he went to the driving range to work on whatever club he had trouble with,” Householder said. “If it was on the green, he went to the green and putted. You see the same thing on TV. Those guys do the same thing. If they struggle in a round, they go straight to the range and try to get it fixed. That’s what always impressed me about him.”

Murphy was also serious about the responsibility of being a part of the team.

“He was always one to get to the course early,” Householder said. “I’ve had some guys that if we tee off at 3:30, they pull in the parking lot at 3:25. Justice is there an hour before and warmed up. He’s got a great work ethic. He loves the game. I think this has been one of his goals, he wanted to play college golf.”

Those values were also an important part of Murphy joining up with Bryan College.

“(The players there) weren’t the greatest skill-level, but they impressed me with the practice they put in,” he said. “They put in the practice time and do the things they need to do to get better as a team. That’s what really impressed me — they were willing to go out and do what they had to do to make themselves better.”

Murphy, who’ll major in business administration with a focus in management at Bryan, has simple goals for his collegiate career.

“I really want to play and get better, and hopefully, as I get better, I can get up to where I’m all-conference and get to play in some national championships.”

With his work ethic and business-like approach on the course, anything is possible.