Cormac Sharvin fired a scintillating eight-under par round of 63 to open up a one-shot cushion over a congested leaderboard as the inaugural English Championship got under way.
The Ardglass professional dropped just two shots to reach eight-under par on a day of perfect scoring conditions at Hanbury Manor Marriot Hotel and Country Club to move one ahead of a group of six players.
“It was a nice round, played really well, didn’t do too much wrong,” reflected the 27-year old.
“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.
“I feel like last week I didn’t play too badly, I just struggled on the greens. I did a lot of work with Dean (Robertson) my old college coach who has been caddying for me on the UK Swing. Did a lot of work on my putting process and it seemed to work today. Hopefully it keeps going in that direction and see where it takes us.”
As for the other Irish in the field, Paul Dunne returned a one-under par 70 to be just outside the top-90 while Clandeboye’s Jonathan Caldwell will also need a good round on Friday after posting a one-over par round of 72.
English pair Laurie Canter and David Howell had both held the lead before dropping shots on the 17th to fall back into the pack, ending round one of the third event of the UK Swing alongside Belgian Thomas Detry, Scott Vincent of Zimbabwe and Australians Min Woo Lee and Jason Scrivener.
They sit one shot ahead of a group of nine players, including Belgian Ryder Cup player Nicolas Colsaerts and rising Danish star Rasmus Højgaard, who recorded rounds of 65 to sit at six-under par as the European Tour returned to the Hertfordshire venue for the first time since 1999.
Full scoring HERE