Cormac Sharvin’s form of 2019 was given another boost after he picked up a podium finish and his best result of the season so far at the Hauts de France – Pas de Calais Golf Open.
The Ardglass professional fired his lowest round of the week, a three-under par 68 to jump into outright third at seven-under par as his ascent up the Challenge Tour rankings continues.
“I’m really happy with the week,” said Sharvin who’s now collected three top-10 finishes from his last four events. “It moves me up the Challenge Tour rankings so it’s been a nice start to the season.
“I feel like I’ve been in contention four events in a row now so if I can keep putting myself in contention, it obviously shows that I’m playing more consistently, and well. It’s just a case of trying to keep getting better. I feel like I’m improving every week and hopefully I can continue it.”
The result consolidates Sharvin’s position inside the top-10 of the Challenge Tour rankings while his cheque for €13,300 keeps his bank balance ticking over nicely. However, far from thinking this is a fleeting bit of form, Sharvin hopes his place atop leaderboards won’t be coming to an end any time soon as he enters the meat of the season.
“I’m pretty happy with the timing of the form,” he added. “I’ve been working towards trying to be able to be in contention nearly every week. Hopefully it’s not just a case of form but it will become a regular thing.”
One event Sharvin will be looking to peak at is July’s Irish Open at Lahinch having already secured an invite into the lucrative Rolex Series event. For all his progress on the Challenge Tour circuit this season, weeks on the main tour don’t come much bigger than Sharvin’s national open and he knows the life-altering fortunes that one big week could bring.
“It’s great to get the invite early,” Sharvin said. “It means I can plan my schedule more so. I’ll be taking this week off so it means the Irish Open isn’t my fourth week in a row. I’m just going to go to the Irish Open and treat it like every other event. I think it’s important to try not to get sucked in. If I keep playing the way I’m playing, who knows what could happen.
“If I keep trending the way I am, anything can happen in an Irish Open week. You saw it with Shane Lowry, it can change your life. But I’m going to prep for it like I would any other Challenge Tour event but it should be good. It’s always nice to play in front of a home crowd so it should be a great week.”
Sharvin wasn’t alone in enjoying a good week in France from an Irish perspective, although Rosapenna’s Ruaidhri McGee would have been frustrated with his one-over par 72 to finish out an otherwise encouraging tournament.
McGee finished in a share of 8th spot at three-under par and picked up a consolation cheque worth €4,940 for the effort.
At the top, Robin Roussel went the entire weekend without dropping a shot to secure his first European Challenge Tour victory on home soil.
The Frenchman began the day one back of leader Daan Huizing, but immediately took control of the tournament with a birdie on the opening hole, which gave him a lead he would never relinquish.
“It’s a very special feeling, I don’t have the words right now,” he said. “I just enjoyed the moment so much and the crowd so much. They’ve been very, very supportive all week long. It’s such a great feeling.”
“No bogeys all weekend, I didn’t think about it, but I feel like I just played perfectly.”
The tournament, which is played at Aa Saint-Omer Golf Club—one of the most difficult courses on the Challenge Tour International Schedule—quickly became a two-horse race as Roussel, and the third man playing in the final group, Richard Bland, separated themselves from the field and played much of the back nine tied for the lead.
The battle down the stretch was riveting, but the tie was eventually broken when Bland bogeyed the 16th hole. Seizing the moment, Roussel put the tournament away on the 72nd hole when he hit his approach to inside three feet, sending the home crowd into a frenzy.
“It was such a good battle with Richard,” Roussel said. “The crowd helped me a lot on the last few holes.
“At the start I was very focused and hitting only good shots, so it was not too hard to go low, but at the end I could feel my game becoming less accurate and so the crowd was amazing—just perfect—and thanks to them I could win.”
The five-under par round of 66 gave him the victory, which also marked his fourth top-10 finish of the season in only six starts. As a result, the Paris native will move up to the fourth position on the Challenge Tour Rankings.
The 25-year-old now has his sights firmly locked on finishing the season in the top-15 and earning a European Tour card.
“I’ve been thinking about my European Tour card since the start of the season,” he said. “I knew my game was getting better and better.
“I’ve been working very hard for the last two or three years, and I think I’ve put everything on my side to reach the European Tour.”
For Bland, the disappointment of not winning will be eased by the fact he has recorded his second-consecutive runner-up finish on the Challenge Tour, after finishing tied second last week at the Swiss Challenge Presented by Swiss Golf.
The pair of strong finishes have moved the 46-year-old Englishman into third on the Rankings and also puts a return to the European Tour within reach.
The Challenge Tour will now travel to Spain, for the Andalucia – Costa del Sol Match Play 9, which runs from June 20-23.
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