Cormac Sharvin will go in search of his first European Challenge Tour title when the Italian Challenge Open Eneos Motor Oil gets under way at Terre dei Consoli Golf Club today.
The Northern Irishman has recorded three top ten results in his last four Challenge Tour appearances to sit seventh in the season-long Rankings as he edges towards his first professional victory.
In his last outing, the 26-year-old clinched third place at the Hauts de France – Pas de Calais Golf Open – his best professional finish – having set the record by finishing fourth at the D+D REAL Czech Challenge three weeks beforehand.
Sharvin’s work during the winter paid dividends at the Prague Golf Challenge as he finished tied eighth before continuing his consistency with two top five finishes either side of a T16 result in Switzerland.
With Terre dei Consoli Golf Club hosting the Challenge Tour for the first time since 2016 and the largest European prize fund to battle for this week, the 2015 Walker Cup player is determined to continue his impressive form.
“I feel like I’ve been in contention at four events in a row,” he said. “My game has been really solid, so it’s nice to get myself in contention with the way I’m playing.
“Consistency is what I’ve been trying to work towards. It has been the basis of my work over the winter to get myself in contention as much as I can. I feel like that is starting to come together now.
“It is a mixture of everything that has helped me become consistent this year. A lot of it is my mindset, where I feel a little bit more comfortable at tournaments and on the Challenge Tour. A lot of things have to come together for you to be able to be in contention every week. You have to manage everything, and I feel like I’m able to do that now.”
With temperatures set to reach 38 degrees Celsius at Terre dei Consoli, Sharvin is aware how much the conditions could affect his game and is prepared for the battle from the rest of the field but also from the weather.
“I had a good chat with my performance coach, who has worked with lots of athletes in high height conditions, and we’ve put a plan together for this week,” he said. “There are three things we’ll focus on; try and stay in the shade as much as possible, try and drink as much water as possible, and try and get as much sleep as you can.
“It’s so important to try and keep your energy levels as consistent as possible because I don’t play in heat like this very often, so I have to manage myself more so than any other week.”
Sharvin is one of 13 players from the top 15 of the Challenge Tour Order of Merit teeing it up in Italy, with Ricardo Santos looking to continue his incredible run of results, having finished inside the top five in three of his last of four outings, including victory at Swiss Challenge Presented by Swiss Golf. While Italy’s Francesco Laporta, who sits 15th in the Rankings, will be hoping for a strong result in front of home support.
The Italian Challenge Open Eneos Motor Oil gets under way at 7:00am local time on Thursday, while Sharvin begins his first round at 12pm Irish time.
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