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‘My head was just in shambles’: Inside the mind of Clemson’s $10,000 golf putt winner

Clemson Athletics // Courtesy
Kevin Murphy, a freshman computer science major, celebrates on the court of Littlejohn Coliseum after making a golf putt to win $10,000.

The Clemson men’s basketball team wasn’t the only big winner at Littlejohn Coliseum last Saturday.

Before the Tigers defeated Virginia Tech, Kevin Murphy, a freshman computer science major, hit a 94-foot golf putt on the court to win $10,000 — a near-impossible shot that sent the crowd into a frenzy.

The challenge, sponsored by Roto-Rooter, a plumbing and water cleanup company, is a fan-favorite activity during games at Littlejohn. Still, the fans rarely, if ever, hit the golf ball into the mouse hole-sized opening.

But this time, the putt went in, and Murphy walked away with serious money and a night he’ll never forget.
“It was unreal,” Murphy said in an interview with The Tiger. “I was shaking in my backswing, so I was like, ‘It’s gonna be off right away.’ And then I hit it, and it went dead straight. I got a picture of me crouched down, and I was pointing at it. I’m like, ‘Oh my God, this might go in.’

“And at the last second, it rolled right back towards the middle and sunk it. I was in disbelief. I didn’t know what to do; I started jumping up and down with my hands up.”

As the night continued and the time of the putt got further and further away, Murphy’s excitement never wavered.

“I went to my buddy’s dorm, and then we just watched the football games. I didn’t know what to do with myself,” he said. “I was trying to just have it be a normal night, but my head was just in shambles.”

Murphy’s putt almost never happened, however, as he and his friends were close to missing the basketball game. In fact, if it weren’t for confusion on their part, Murphy likely wouldn’t have been in a prime position to be selected for the challenge.

“My friends were watching the NFL game, and we were debating whether we even really wanted to go the game,” Murphy said. “And then we ended up going. We thought the game was earlier, so we got there way earlier, and then we were able to sit right behind the DJ.”

With not much past golf experience, Murphy admitted that the made putt was a little bit of blind luck.

Still, for himself, his friends and the crowd, that luck turned into an incredible atmosphere and experience.

“It got quieter the further the ball got down the court. And then, all of a sudden, it went in, and people exploded. And I looked at like all my friends, and they’re all hugging each other and going crazy, and I couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day.”

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Justin Robertson
Justin Robertson, Associate Editor
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