“Big Break Ireland” winner Mark Murphy is celebrating his 34th birthday this week with a paycheck at the European Tour’s Trophee Hassan II.
The Irishman is playing in the first of two exemptions earned by winning the Golf Channel’s most recent season of its hit reality TV show. Through two rounds, Murphy is 4 under and T-25 as the event reached its midpoint on Saturday in Morocco.
Murphy will go out with Lee Slattery and Eduardo de la Riva in the third round this morning.
Earlier in the week, Murphy battled back spasms. Nevertheless, he was confident enough in his ability to pay a £2,000 fee to join the European Tour as an affiliate member. His earnings this week will count toward the tour’s money list, as well as any money earned in the Irish Open later this summer.
Getting to the weekend is a first for a male Big Break contestant on the European Tour. In 25 prior starts won on the Golf Channel series, the champions have made money in just six starts – three coming in no-cut tournaments.
Murphy will have to improve on his current position, however, to post the best finish by a Big Break winner. Tommy Gainey finished T-8 in the 2007 Cox Classic, while Carling Coffing finished T-22 in the 2010 Omega Dubai Ladies Masters on the Ladies European Tour.