Cormac Sharvin confessed that it was hard to see light at the end of the tunnel at times during his recent fairway struggles but after breaking a run of 13 missed cuts at the Czech Masters, he hopes there’s much brighter days ahead.
Not only did the Ardglass pro come through his barren spell but he did so while claiming a best ever European Tour finish of T13 in Prague, eclipsing his tied-15th result at the Irish Open in 2019.
It was only Sharvin’s second time making the weekend all year having made his first cut of the season in Kenya back in March. In a results based business, Sharvin’s numbers have not been good but behind the scenes the 29-year old could see progress and rounds of 71, 69 and a final round 66 at Albatross Golf Resort finally provided the evidence that he’s back on track.
“At times it was obviously really tough to see myself coming out the other end,” Sharvin admitted. “It’s been a long process of trying to build things back up and gain a bit of confidence again.
“A big turning point for me was actually Celtic Manor (Cazoo Open). I played really poorly in the first round and shot 80 but I found something on the range and on the Friday I hit the ball as good as I have in a long time (shot 70).
“Even though I had no chance of making the cut, just the way I played felt like a turning point. I felt like I was seeing a lot of good golf shots again a week later at Galgorm, so coming into last week I knew I wasn’t far away, I just had to trust it.
“But you just never know in this game. I’d had a few feelings throughout the year where I was starting to play better and you get knocked back down, but thankfully I had good control of my ball in practice and I was able to build my way into the week.”
As it happened, Sharvin’s first working weekend since March was a curtailed one; the event shortened to 54-holes after Saturday was written off because of a deluge. Sharvin sprung from the blocks determined to make up for lost time on Sunday. He birdied four of his first five and was eight-under through 12, and after signing for a six-under 66, he was left wondering what might’ve been had he the full weekend to charge up the leaderboard.
“With the way I played the first two days, me and my caddie Matt talked about it. I didn’t need to do anything different to have a 10- or 12-under weekend,” Sharvin said.
“I actually felt nervous at the start of my round but managed to settle in really nicely. I hit a lot of good shots for the first 12 holes. I was eight under and I very easily could’ve been 10.”
Sharvin’s hot streak through 12 holes catapulted him from a share of 35th starting out to a momentary tie for second on the leaderboard. Sure, the leaders had yet to take to the stage but seeing his name in lights after such a rough spell last Sunday was a timely reminder that he can still mix it with the best.
“It was nice to be in the mix,” Sharvin said. “I said to Matt when we got to the 11th green, I think I was six-under for the day and I saw the leaderboard there with my name on it and I was like, ‘it’s nice to see my name on a leaderboard again’.
“I didn’t know if that was ever going to happen again giving the run that I was on so that was nice. I probably hit one of the best shots of my life after that with a 3 wood on 12 over the water into about 5 feet and made eagle and all of a sudden I was eight under.”
Sharvin would bogey three of his last five holes, sandwiching another birdie in on 17, but after such a long absence from the spotlight, he was understandably delighted with how he handled his emotions, while he’s determined to learn from the experience.
“It was nice to get the juices flowing,” he added. “I did feel a little nervous again down the stretch but I dealt with it OK. A couple of poor enough chips aside, considering I haven’t been in that space in a long time, I felt like I did well.
“There’s going to be bad shots down the stretch no matter who you are. I was feeling it but it’s only human to feel those things and I can take away a huge amount of positivity from being in that position.
“I can work on things now golf swing wise or tempo wise having been in that position for the next time I get there. My tempo got a wee bit quick but I’ll know to slow it for the next time.”
Sharvin was driving to Switzerland on Monday where opportunity knocks once more at the Omega European Masters. It’s a drive that was made a whole lot easier courtesy of a week that was long in the making, but even as he struggled to rediscover his form, Sharvin’s love for the game never faltered, nor did his lust for life away from the course.
“Obviously your golf life is in some way going to affect your life away from golf but generally I’m pretty good about parking things and trying to live my life as well because there’s obviously more to life than playing golf,” he said.
“The funny thing for me is that I love playing golf – I play a lot of it. Going through that run, I wasn’t enjoying my tournament golf because my results weren’t great but I still had the bug to play and practice so it’s just nice to be back playing well again.”
There were days of doubt along the way, anxiety heightened by an unfamiliar loss of control but the normally reliable swing of Sharvin looks to have found its ball-striking groove again just in time for a busy stretch of events on the DP World Tour.
“It’s just nice to have control of my golf ball again because it’s a weird one for me – something I’ve never really been through,” Sharvin said having climbed 68 spots to 229 on the Race to Dubai.
“I’ve struggled with parts of my game, like putting, or maybe a bit of short game but I’ve always been a good ball-striker so to go through the period of ball striking Iike I’ve had in tournament was hard but it’s one of those things – it’s not just going to leave you, it’s in there somewhere, it’s just a case of getting it out.
“Obviously it’s only been one week and I kind of need to press and push on from this and try and take as much confidence as I can going into the next run of events but I’m pretty optimistic that my game will hold up to it.”