When Holly Murphy first started paying attention to the many highways and byways college golf's spider web-like road map, the Lake Geneva Badger senior couldn't help but notice the well-traveled path from Wisconsin to North Dakota State in Fargo.
"When I saw some amazing players from my state commit to play college golf there," Murphy wrote in an email interview of Oregon's Taylor McCorkle, Middleton's Alexis Thomas and North Prairie's Katelyn Martin on the women's team and Green Bay's Jed Baranczyk on the men's team, "I really started to consider going there."
In the end, Murphy said, her decision wasn't much of one. It boiled down to North Dakota State and "some Ivy League schools" and the Bison won that battle in a stampede.
"NDSU was the total package for me and it just felt right," wrote Murphy, ranked No. 3 in the Wisconsin.golf girls Class of 2020. "Playing college golf has been a goal of mine since I started playing. ... I went out for a visit at NDSU in March and fell in love with the program, school, and the coach. Coach (Matt) Johnson is running such an amazing program so I can’t wait to be apart of it!!"
A two-time WIAA Division 1 state qualifier, Murphy finished tied for eighth at the state tournament as a sophomore and 10th as a junior. Last fall, she shot 74 on the Highlands Course at Grand Geneva Resort and won the sectional title by seven strokes after winning the regional title at Janesville Riverside Golf Course with the same score.
Murphy, who set the school scoring record as a sophomore when she shot 72 at the Brian Schroeder Memorial Invitational at Wanaki GC in Menomonee Falls, went on to win 2017 Southern Lakes Conference Championship after finishing third as a freshman. Last fall, she finished second when the event was shortened to nine holes because of bad weather.
Last week, Murphy won her sixth career event on the WPGA Junior Tour, shooting a 3-under-par 69 to win the 32nd stop on the 2019 schedule. She also finished fourth last month at the Sherri Steinhauer Invitational and, earlier this summer, placed eighth at the Lake Arrowhead Invitational.
Murphy, who would like to work in government after graduating college, said she was drawn to NDSU by the quality of its academic programs in addition to the success of its athletic programs and its "school spirit." She also liked the Bison's schedule, which in 2019-20 will take them to six western states, including two stops in Arizona.
"I see myself working really hard to help contribute to the team's success in the coming years," Murphy wrote of her expectations once she gets to NDSU next fall. "It’s no secret that North Dakota is among the coldest states in the U.S. so it is going to be expected that I am able to overcome the cold weather and continue to grow and improve with my game throughout the entirety of the year. NDSU has an amazing indoor facility to help me work on all aspects of my game and I am so excited to get to work!!"