Cormac Sharvin roars to top of leaderboard at English Championship after 63
Northern Ireland golfer one clear of the field after opening round
Cormac Sharvin drives on the fifth hole during the opening round of the English Championship at Hanbury Manor in Ware, England. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images
Cormac Sharvin was the surprise leader after he carded an eight-under-par 63 to take the first-round lead at the English Championship in Hertfordshire.
The 27-year-old Northern Irishman, who teed off in the final group of the opening round at Hanbury Manor, carded 10 birdies and two bogeys to nudge ahead of six players in a tie for second at seven under.
“It was a nice round, played really well, didn’t do too much wrong,” Sharvin said.
“Put it on the fairway, hit a lot of good shots and holed a few putts as well and it all added up to 63. Pretty happy to start well.
“A long way to go but it’s always nice to shoot a good score on the first day and not put yourself out of it.”
Veteran David Howell rolled back the years and looked to have earned his first 18-hole lead at a European Tour event in his 636th appearance as he registered six birdies and a stunning hole-out at the 15th to move to eight under.
But the five-time European Tour winner bogeyed the penultimate hole to join Australian pair Jason Scrivener and Min Woo Lee, Zimbabwe’s Scott Vincent, last week’s Hero Open runner-up Thomas Detry and fellow Englishman Laurie Canter in carding 64 in their opening round.
Sharvin opened up with three birdies in Ware before dropping a shot at the fifth. He replied by recording gains at the seventh and ninth to get to the turn at four under.
Sharvin, ranked 322nd in the world, picked up successive birdies from the 11th hole to move within one of the lead, only to drop a shot at the next.
Consecutive birdies at the 14th and 15th increased the group at the top to seven players before he rolled in his third successive gain to take the outright lead.
Paul Dunne opened with a one-under 70, while Jonathan Caldwell’s one-over 72 left him well down the field.
Britain and Ireland unless stated , par 71
63 Cormac Sharvin
64 Jason Scrivener (Aus), Laurie Canter, David Howell, Thomas Detry (Bel), Scott Vincent (Zim), Min Woo Lee (Aus)
65 Richard Bland, Brandon Stone (Rsa), Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel), Oscar Lengden (Swe), Romain Langasque (Fra), Martin Simonsen (Den), David Drysdale, Romain Wattel (Fra), Connor Syme, Jack Senior, Adrian Otaegui (Esp), Rasmus Hojgaard (Den)
66 Andrew Johnston, Steven Brown, Richie Ramsay, Adrian Meronk (Pol), Niklas Lemke (Swe), Rhys Enoch, Dean Burmester (Rsa), Andy Sullivan, Max Schmitt (Ger), Maverick Antcliff (Aus), Miguel Angel Jimenez (Esp), Thorbjorn Olesen (Den), Bryce Easton (Rsa), Lee Westwood
67 Sihwan Kim (Kor), Ben Evans, Justin Harding (Rsa), Matthew Jordan, Oliver Fisher, Robin Roussel (Fra), Johannes Veerman (USA), Nicolai Hojgaard (Den), Aaron Cockerill (Can), Kalle Samooja (Fin), Toby Tree, Ryan Fox (Nzl), Matthew Southgate, Antoine Rozner (Fra), Jamie Donaldson, Ewan Ferguson, Marcel Schneider (Ger)
68 Marcus Armitage, David Law, Jack Singh Brar, Aaron Rai, Adrien Saddier (Fra), Julian Suri (USA), Marc Warren, Eduardo De La Riva (Esp), Nacho Elvira (Esp), Callum Shinkwin, David Horsey, Matthew Baldwin, Ashley Chesters, Chris Paisley, Andrea Pavan (Ita), Jordan Smith, Ricardo Santos (Por), Lorenzo Gagli (Ita), Wilco Nienaber (Rsa)
69 Soren Kjeldsen (Den), Benjamin Poke (Den), Francesco Laporta (Ita), Daan Huizing (Ned), Carlos Pigem (Esp), Pablo Larrazabal (Esp), Renato Paratore (Ita), Lars Van Meijel (Ned), Joachim B. Hansen (Den), Alejandro Canizares (Esp), Louis De Jager (Rsa), Sean Crocker (USA), Gavin Green (Mal), Damien Perrier (Fra), Guido Migliozzi (Ita), Rikard Karlberg (Swe), Lee Slattery, Liam Johnston, Jake McLeod (Aus), Dave Coupland, Bernd Ritthammer (Ger), Ross McGowan
70 Maximilian Kieffer (Ger), Tom Gandy (IOM), Wil Besseling (Ned), Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin), Paul Dunne, Thomas Bjorn (Den), Daniel Young, Joel Stalter (Fra), Michael Campbell (Nzl), Kristoffer Reitan (Nor), Richard McEvoy, Julien Guerrier (Fra), Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Esp), James Morrison, Ben Stow, Justin Walters (Rsa)
71 Ross Fisher, Oliver Wilson, Matthieu Pavon (Fra), Garrick Porteous, Emilio Cuartero Blanco (Esp), Graeme Storm, Shubhankar Sharma (Ind), Scott Hend (Aus), Dale Whitnell
72 Joel Sjoholm (Swe), Jonathan Caldwell, Masahiro Kawamura (Jpn), Oliver Farr, Jacques Kruyswijk (Rsa), Alvaro Quiros (Esp)
73 Sam Horsfield, Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez (Esp), Haydn Porteous (Rsa), Zander Lombard (Rsa), Steven Tiley
74 JC Ritchie (Rsa), Scott Jamieson
75 Pedro Figueiredo (Por)
77 Nicolai Von Dellingshausen (Ger)
80 James Ruebotham