Cormac Sharvin bounced back from consecutive bogeys over his opening two holes before signing for a two-under par 69 on day one of the inaugural Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Showdown.
This week’s fresh format sees the first 36 holes played as a stroke play event, and the cut will then be made to the leading 32 players and ties. The scores will be reset to zero for the third round, and another cut will reduce the field to the top 16 players and ties. Scores will also be reset for the final round ‘shoot-out’, meaning the winner will be determined by who shoots the lowest round on Sunday.
Ardglass professional Sharvin finds himself nicely placed in a tie for 30th after his opening effort. Two-over through two holes, the 28-year old carded four birdies without another bogey on the card to be on pace ahead of Friday’s cut to the top-32 and ties. Sharvin is looking to build on his course form from last week after signing off with his best round, a five-under par 66 on Sunday before grabbing a timely top-30 finish, his best result since the beginning of August.
Clandeboye professional Caldwell, meanwhile, who enjoyed a rare weekend off after failing to fire last week in Cyprus, was struggling again at the venue at Aphrodite Hills. Playing alongside Sharvin on the opening day, Caldwell carded three bogeys and two birdies in a one-over par round of 72 that leaves him well off the weekend pace in a share of 81st.
Scotland’s Robert MacIntryre carded six birdies in a blemish free round of 65 to lead the field by one ahead of Friday’s second round. The 24-year-old improved by one stroke each round in last week’s Cyprus Open, carding scores of 68-67-66-65 for a share of third place and his best finish on the 2020 Race to Dubai. The Scotsman continued that momentum into the second of two consecutive events at the stunning Paphos venue and was one of eight players in a share of the lead on five under par, before his sixth birdie of the day on the 18th saw him take a narrow lead into the second round.
“I’m delighted,” he said. “Again I played great golf. A few mis hits off the tee, but it’s one of those golf courses where I can open my shoulders a little bit more and give it a little bit extra. I missed a few putts that were still shaving the edges of holes but overall it was a good round of golf. The course suits my eye. I said it to Mikey and my coach at the start of last week. Visually there are certain shots that, if it was a different sort of wind, I wouldn’t like them, but with the normal wind direction it suits my eye. I’m rolling the putter great.
“The new irons are brilliant. I’m hitting numbers. At Wentworth we weren’t hitting numbers and before that the lofts kept going stronger and we were struggling. Now we’ve got new irons everything is perfect and my golf is showing that there was something wrong. To have fixed that has been a big help.”
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