Hat-trick of birdies should see Sharvin through to Saudi weekend


Cormac Sharvin (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)


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Cormac Sharvin birdied three of his closing four holes in a one-under par round of 69 that should prove enough to see him progress to the weekend rounds of the Saudi International.

The Ardglass professional, who hasn’t played since a missed cut in December’s South African Open, recovered from being two-over par through 14 holes to be sitting one-under par for the tournament and inside the top-50 at the weather-disrupted event that sees Viktor Hovland lead in the clubhouse at six-under.

Hovland was still three shots behind overnight leader David Horsey when play was suspended due to a dangerous weather situation. Rain is a rarity in Saudi Arabia but it fell throughout the morning at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club and approaching storms brought the players off the course at 12.59pm local time – a loss of two hours and one minute with a 3.00pm resumption.

Hovland had finished his bogey free 66 around 30 minutes before the delay as he moved to six under, three shots off Horsey and two behind Scot Stephen Gallacher, who were both yet to tee off in round two.

Kiwi Ryan Fox and Austrian Bernd Wiesberger had both moved to seven under in the very early stages of their rounds, with Swede Marcus Kinhult alongside Hovland. Italian Guido Migliozzi and England’s Chris Paisley were at five under after a pair of 67s, a shot clear of another Englishman in Ian Poulter and America’s Julian Suri.

A second consecutive round of 70 means Graeme McDowell will face an anxious wait as he sits just inside the projected cut mark on the number at evens while Paul Dunne has it all to do from three-over par with 18 holes to play at the time of writing.

Starting on the tenth, Norwegian Hovland birdied his opener and the 12th and, despite the conditions getting tougher, he added another birdie on the 17th before getting up and down from the side of the green at the par five fourth.

“I had a very nice start, birdieing the first hole and made another one a couple of holes later and just gave myself really good chances early on, I was in very good control of my game,” he said. “Then the wind started picking up and it started raining a little bit so the course played a lot longer and it was a grind on a couple of holes but I managed to hit it to 15, 20, 25 feet a lot and you’re just going to two putt a lot of those putts.

“It was pretty solid but I need to get it a little closer tomorrow for some more birdies. It definitely played a lot harder in the afternoon yesterday and today, for an early morning tee time, it was windy from the start and some rain here and there.”


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