The golf world’s youth movement was put on notice on Thursday in Abu Dhabi.
The marquee threesome of day one at the Abu Dhabi Championship Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood were rounding out their first nine holes when they reached the par-3 15th hole and they had a challenger waiting on the tee.
13-year-old Oscar Murphy had drawn the lucky straw to hit his tee shot after Rory, DJ and Fleetwood and he left the tee box with the second-closest approach and definitely the spotlight shining directly upon him.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) January 18, 2018
Dustin Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood have often been upstaged by Rory McIlroy, but they have now suffered the indignity of being upstaged by a young Rory McIlroy fan in Abu Dhabi’s “Beat the Pro” challenge.
The marquee group had already hit their tee shots to the 177-yard par three 15th on the opening day, and then it was the turn of schoolboy Oscar Murphy to see if he could do any better.
The 13-year-old, a tidy six-handicapper, has been a huge McIlroy fan for years and would have been exceptionally nervous on the tee as he took a couple of practice swings with his three-wood.
But Murphy made a great connection and hit a high, soft fade which pitched safely on the green and ran out to around 20 feet from the pin – closer to the hole than both world No 1 Johnson, and European No 1 Fleetwood!
Lovely interview with 13 yr old Oscar Murphy and Sir @NickDougherty5 on @SkySportsGolf after he took on @McIlroyRory and took down @DJohnsonPGA and @TommyFleetwood1 in a nearest the pin challenge at the @ADGolfChamps! Hope it’s ok to post guys. Gr8 to see kids in the game. pic.twitter.com/gYsq3U8zlY
— Doc from GolfCentralDaily (@golfcentraldoc) January 18, 2018
Ewen Murray described it as the “shot of the day”, and an impressed McIlroy said: “Oscar has been following me since the 2011 PGA Championship in Atlanta and he’s here for, like, every round I play here. I feel like he’s my little mascot, he’s waiting at the back of every green and every tee box.
“I was a little surprised to see him on the tee there. I didn’t expect him to be inside the ropes today but he hit a really great shot, a really good little swing, one for the future.”
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