By Bernie McGuire in Saudi.
Cormac Sharvin can be forgiven for his efforts at this week’s Saudi International in posting scores of 74 and 75 to sit out the weekend rounds in the inaugural Asian Tour event.
Sharvin’s appearance was the first tournament for the Ardglass pro since the dramatic cancellation on November 28th last year of the Joburg Open, the historic opening event of the renamed DP World Tour.
Sharvin, and like the majority of Europeans in the field, got to play just one round before fleeing South Africa as quickly as they could over fears for the Omicron strand of the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic.
The South African event was Sharvin’s first in some three weeks after testing positive for the Covid virus at the Portugal Masters, resulting in Sharvin missing out on contesting the AVIV Dubai Championship.
Though the Dubai event was Sharvin’s last chance to break inside the top 122 and ensure full playing privileges for 2022, he retained some status due to the ‘safety net’ system brought in by the Tour this year.
It did mean Sharvin was relegated and re-ranked 166th at season-end for the 2021 Race to Dubai, and while missing out on contesting both opening DP World events in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, he gained a start this week in Saudi Arabia.
However, Sharvin said he also did not feel 100% health-wise though was back to full strength to tee-up in Saudi Arabia.
“Arriving here at the Saudi International it my first event since the first and only round in Joburg, so it’s been a long time since I’ve had a scorecard in my back pocket,” he said ahead of the event.
Though it has not been all bad news for the 29-year-old as he is now a Titleist staff player, sporting Titleist cap, bag, and clubs.
“I use to play Titleist when I was an amateur, and already in the short time I have been working with the clubs, they seem a lot better for me. I’ve been really impressed with the work I undertook over the break.
“The clubs I have in the bag while looking similar to what I was using in the past do have stronger shafts and it’s been resulting in my seeing a nice ball flight, and I do feel I can control the launch and spin a lot better with them.
“Overall, I do feel my game is in a better place and besides I have been out on the Tour a while now since turning pro.”
And while sitting out the weekend rounds, Sharvin’s showing was a first on the Asian Tour.
“It’s been good to get back into competition and while I’m not playing the four days, it’s just been so good to come out here and tee-up in a really strong field like we’ve had here this week,” he said.
“I’m going to head over to RAK this coming week for the second DP World event at Al Hamra, and then given I have not played for such a long time, I’m going to head back to South Africa for a Challenge Tour event in Capetown (Bain’s Whisky Capetown Open – Feb 17-20) and then a week off before the Kenya Open (March 3-6).
“So, I’ve got a good few tournaments ahead of me and I’m looking forward to getting back into competition.”
As for the other Irish in the field, Graeme McDowell endured more disappointment on the fairway, sinking to a missed cut after rounds of 73 and 73 left him at six-over par.
However, there was better news for Shane Lowry who sits just outside the top-20 at two-under par after signing for an even par 70 in round two. Lowry finds himself eight shots behind the halfway pace set by Spain Adri Arnaus and Harold Varnor III at 10-under par.
- Full scoring HERE