Cormac Sharvin superbly upstaged many of his more-fancied opponents with an impressive four-under par 66 on the opening day of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Lahinch.
Sharvin, 26 is contesting just his second Irish Open and sandwiched a sixth hole birdie among pars from his first to 10th holes before birdies at 11 and 12. It was a fine day for the Ardglass pro who dropped his only shot of the round at 13, before he birdied 16 and 17 to get to four under.
It left the 2015 GB&I Walker Cup star trailing just three shots behind triple Major winning Padraig Harrington who posted a seven-under par 63.
Sharvin also shares 10th place with nine others including top-ranked Irishman Shane Lowry, long-time Ryder Cup heroes Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood along with Mexican-born Abraham Ancer and winner of last December’s Australian Open.
“I have been playing well and hitting the ball really consistently for the last eight months,” Sharvin said.
“There was a bit more pressure today obviously but I felt like I dealt with it pretty well.”
Sharvin, proudly representing the spectacular Ardglass Club, is competing this year on the secondary Challenge Tour and only after narrowly missing out late last year in controversial manner on his full European Tour card.
He is making the most of his opportunities with three top-10s in his dozen Challenge Tour encounters including a fourth late last month in the Czech Masters.
“This year has been a little bit more of a jump and I am feeling a lot more comfortable and I’ve been working on the right things,” he said.
“I’ve been playing golf and not thinking about it too much, not thinking about my swing and not thinking about anything too technical so I’m just going out there, seeing the shot and hitting the shot.”
Two shots further back is Robin Dawson after the 23-year old from Tramore fired a 68 despite bogeys at 14, 16 and 17 before a birdie at the last.
PGA Tour based Seamus Power was level par through nine holes thanks to two birdies but also a pair of dropped shots ahead of nine closing pars in a score of 70.
Former Open champ, Darren Clarke regrouped from being three-over through 13 holes to finish at one-over par while Donegal’s Michael McGeady ended his round birdie, double-bogey, birdie, bogey and par to be sharing 90th place with Clarke and also the struggling Paul Dunne.
Dunne was four-over par through 11 holes before birdies at 12, 14 and 16 helped ease the pair for the Greystones golfer.