Cormac Sharvin finishes Irish Open as leading Irish player
Pádraig Harrington, for one, was impressed with how Sharvin went about his business
Cormac Sharvin during day four of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Lahinch. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
When it was all done, as the 271st stroke of his week’s work hit the bottom of the tin cup on the 18th green, Cormac Sharvin took off his cap and showed his appreciation to the galleries.
For those gathered on the road behind the slate boundary wall, up in the grandstand and standing on the mounds around Lahinch’s finishing hole, there was uniformity in their acknowledgment of his finishing as leading Irish player in this Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
In truth, Sharvin’s closing round of 70 for a nine-under-par total of 271 which left him in tied-15th and pocketing the biggest payday of his career with a cheque for €85,655, was something of a roller-coaster ride; one of five birdies, five bogeys until the ride become more settled coming home where he coolly and calmly reeled off four straight pars down the stretch for a job well done.
“I really felt like I took one shot at a time out there and did that really well. I got unfortunate a few times, it’s probably the most comfortable I’ve felt all week, to be honest, which just shows the work I’m doing off the course is helping me when I get under the gun,” said Sharvin.
For the 26-year-old from Ardglass, Co Down, his performance - making the most of a sponsor’s invitation as part of Team Ireland, the support programme of Sports Ireland to aid fledgling professionals - provided an indicator of his potential as he returns next week to the Challenge Tour in his attempt to claim a full European Tour card for next season.
Pádraig Harrington, for one, was impressed with how Sharvin went about his business on the Co Clare links: “I know the strength has got much stronger in Europe and there’s less places now, it’s just being squeezed out. But it’s time we had a few of these guys come through. Cormac does look like a solid player. He’s playing and doing well on the Challenge Tour and just getting his feet, feeling himself into this, and he does look like he has a bright future.You know, it’s got nothing to do with physical ability. It’s all to do with the belief whether they are good enough or not and that has to be deep down.”
Sharvin had set off from the first tee in the pairing behind Jon Rahm, so anything was possible as he commenced the final round. Apart from the title, there were other carrots. A top-10 finish would have earned a ticket into this week’s Scottish Open, and the potential to claim one of the three spots on offer to next week’s British Open at Royal Portrush.
However, a bogey start - after failing to reach the green with his approach from wispy rough - and then the ignominy of putting into a bunker on the third for another dropped shot put him on the back foot from the off. To his credit, he ran off three straight birdies from the fifth to get back on track only to be derailed by the drivable Par 4 10th where he attempted to cut a 3-wood off the tee.
He found a horrible lie in greenside rough, skinned his recovery through the green and then watched as his next shot came back down the slope to him. “I could have made any score on that hole so I was pretty happy to just get out of there with five,” he admitted.
In the end, Sharvin did well to limit the damage to a bogey. But it meant he’d slipped further adrift of his pre-round targets, and that the recalibration was to finish up as leading Irish player.
“I’ve tried not to get too bogged down with results and outcome, and that’s just going to come from the process of what I’ve been doing the last year and a half, trying to get to the next level,” said Sharvin, adding: “I played nicely but I wasn’t firing on all cylinders. I’ve definitely played better, a couple of bits of my game were slightly off. I probably didn’t have my best stuff. I know there’s more there and that will give me confidence.”
Sharvin has assembled a good team around him, from performance coach Ed Coughlan to being able to have veteran caddie Brian Byrne by his side.
“I already had huge confidence of getting my card this year, this is only going to add to that. Hopefully I can kick on now and get off the Challenge Tour as soon as possible, get out competing with these guys. It’s definitely a big stepping stone for me, to compete with the best in the world is going to give me confidence going forward. In terms of my mindset, it’s something that I’ve worked really hard on the last year or so, and to see it hold up on the biggest podium is great.”
Sharvin’s pay day in one go was almost three times the amount he has earned on the Challenge Tour so far this season. But he returns to that pathway to the main circuit for this week’s tournament in France, the La Vaudreuil Challenge, and next week’s tournament in Austria.
“If I can compete with the best in the world, I can definitely win on the Challenge Tour. There’s nothing to stop me winning a few times this year and securing my card pretty early, and maybe coming out here (on the main tour) earlier than normal.”