DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) – Decatur native Sam Murphy came out strong on Saturday and never looked back, winning the 56th annual Daikin Spirit of America at his home course of the Burningtree Country Club.

Murphy shot a 67 on Saturday to finish the week at -14. He entered the round tied at -10 with another Decatur native in Ryley Heath and they stayed tied until hole 9. Heath finished the tournament as runner-up at -10. Murphy and Heath have been playing together for over a decade, which made going up against each other even more fun.

“I think the best part for me is not the fact that I know Sam so well but just how great of a golfer he is. For me to be able to be in that position, be up there with him, that’s juts huge for me. Sam deserved it, there’s nobody more deserving than Sam, I’m very proud of him,” Heath said.

“It was good. Saw a lot of what he’s made of as a golfer and it just makes me, I’m almost more proud of him for being able to step up and play good golf,” Murphy added.

This is the first Daikin Spirit of America title for Murphy, who finished as runner-up last year. This year, Murphy struggled on day one, finishing tied for 14th at 2 over par. But a fantastic round three where he shot a 64 allowed him to close in on Heath and ultimately take home the title.

“That was kind of a knock a little rust off and once I did that, I started kind of catching a groove. To come in here feeling confident, last year it was kind of confidence, and then lost it and got it back here. This year I just knew the whole way it was hopefully going to pay off. I wasn’t going to worry about what everyone else was doing. I had a number set and I was just going to try and get to it,” Murphy said.

Muphy’s grandfather used to own the Burningtree Country Club and live off of the 15th hole. Murphy said finally taking home the championship on the course he grew up playing on was a moment he always wanted.

“Last night, we live in his old house on 15 green and I was kind of sitting outside and I was like you know what, even though he’s not here anymore it’s still home and it’s very special. To be able to set that goal and be able to accomplish it, it’s a huge confidence boost and to do it here in front of everyone, it’s just awesome. It’s something I’ve always wanted and I finally got it,” Murphy said.

Here are the top 10 finishers from the 2022 Daikin Spirit of America:

  1. Sam Murphy (-14)
  2. Ryley Heath (-10)
  3. Ryan Terry (-7)
  4. Matthew Gourgeot (-5)
  5. Mac Murphy (-4)
  6. Carter Goodwin (-2)
  7. Payne Johnson, Clark Brown, Ross Napier, Will Patrick (-1)