Cormac Sharvin failed to replicate the fireworks of his opening nine as he lost sight of the lead on moving day at the inaugural English Championship.
After opening with a stunning round of 63, the Ardglass professional has been relatively quiet around Hanbury Manor Marriot Hotel and Country Club since in his pursuit of a maiden European Tour title.
That’s not to say a moving day two-under par round of 69 wasn’t steady, but having made the turn with three birdies and an eagle on Saturday, it looked as though Sharvin would be a major player come Sunday’s final round.
Sadly, that wasn’t to be as the 27-year old made three bogeys on the way home and after failing to pick up a shot, he now finds himself at 11-under par in a tie for 20th, 10 shots behind Andy Sullivan’s lead.
Sullivan is within touching distance of his first European Tour title in five years, extending his English Championship lead to five shots on day three at Hanbury Manor.
The 33-year-old is aiming to become the second Englishman in successive weeks to win on home soil in the UK Swing after his compatriot Sam Horsfield claimed last week’s Hero Open title. It looks like Sullivan will take some stopping, after he followed up his course-record second round 62 with a super 64 which included two eagles on the front nine.
“I was just trying to focus on a shot at a time,” he said. “I know it’s a bit of a cliche, but really trying to control what I could do out there today. I was swinging it well and just trying to give myself as many chances as possible. As I was swinging it well a lot of shots came off today and I gave myself a lot of chances. It was good fun out there.
“Four under for the front nine the way the week has been going was pretty normal. Everyone has been going pretty low. It’s a golf course where you can’t rest on your laurels. You’ve still got to go after it and try to make birdies but also be sensible.
“I didn’t realise I was five in front until I was coming up the last. I was just trying to make as many birdies as possible to be honest without forcing a mistake… like a three putt on 13. Just trying to control my situation and keep hitting the good golf shots that I have been hitting all week.”
The 2016 Ryder Cup player’s round almost got off to the most spectacular of starts when he was just four feet away from holing an albatross hole-in-one at the par four first, instead tapping in for an opening eagle two. He would pick up a second eagle at the par five ninth and three birdies in the last five holes would earn him a seven under par round for a 21 under total.
“Strategy will be the same as today,” he added. “Just control what I can do. Can’t control anyone that is going to come up behind me. This golf course does offer a lot of birdies so I’m sure at some point someone is going to have a run at me. All I can do is control what I can do and see where we are at the end of it.”
He enters the final day five strokes clear of his nearest challenger, Steven Brown, whose five under par 66 moved him to 16 under par while Rolex Series winner Brandon Stone is one of three players in a share of third on 15 under par, alongside fellow South African Dean Burmester and Spain’s Adrian Otaegui.
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