Pine Belt golfer representing US at World Amateur Golf Championship

Pine Belt golfer representing US at World Amateur Golf Championship

PURVIS, MS (WDAM) - When Mike Murphy brought home this trophy to Pine Creek Golf Club, most of the course's regulars could not believe one of their guys from Purvis was able to win a World Amateur Golfers National Championship.

Especially for a guy who has not been playing the game that long.

"I've only been golfing for four years," Murphy said. "This is my fourth summer picking it up. Just being competitive in sports from earlier years and I moved to this area that same time, four years ago, I came across this golf course. Great place. They took me in because I knew nobody around here."

"This is one game that you never fully learn," said Pine Creek Golf's Chad Vivien, who has worked at the Club for 21 years. "Even the pros, they have bad days. You don't fully learn this game but he's definitely catching on."

And catching on fast. Murphy's win in Indiana earned him a spot with Team USA at the World Amateur Golf Championship in Durban, South Africa, starting Oct. 22.

It is a humble honor for the 38-year-old whose only golf coach has been Pine Creek pro Chad Vivien.

"He laughs at me a lot but I pick his brain every day," Murphy said. "Maybe once, twice, just a little bit. Maybe him not even knowing it but I do it every day just to help me out."

"He might've had one lesson from me…and he took it upon himself to get after it," Vivien said. "Every time he was home from work he was out here playing golf."

Murphy works in off-shore drilling and is often gone 21 to 28 days at a time. Time to golf can be scarce when he is not working or spending time with his wife and four kids.

So one knows he will take advantage of every hole, every stroke and every moment of his trip to South Africa.

"Five years WAGT has been doing this and they've never won over there," Murphy said. "My goal right now is to help my team win, represent Team USA the best."

Vivien said, "I want him to win it all. I think it would be awesome to have somebody at our golf course that pushed themselves this far, sacrificed their time at work and time with their families to accomplish something like this. I hope he doesn't bring back the Zika with him."