Ardglass golfer Sharvin on finding consistency, Irish Open buzz and Ryder Cup hopes

Cormac Sharvin
Sharvin is currently 318th in golf's world rankings

It is not how Cormac Sharvin thought his first season on the European Tour would go.

Having secured his card for the 2020 season by finishing 11th on the 2019 Challenge Tour rankings, the Ardglass golfer was gearing up for a potential breakthrough campaign on the top circuit.

However, after just four events, he is unsure of what the future holds as the sporting world goes into shutdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Sharvin will bide his time, however, as he plans to exercise and sharpen up his putting in between sessions of playing Fifa during self-isolation.

A measured, clear-sighted 27-year-old, Sharvin appreciates that golf is the last of the world's worries at this stage.

While he had been fine-tuning his game on testing Irish layouts such Portmarnock and Carton House, he agrees that closing golf courses north and south of the border was the right move in response to the worst public health crisis in a generation.

"It's a precaution that needs to be in place," Sharvin says of the decision to temporarily shut down Irish golf.

"I don't know enough about the virus, but they're obviously trying to slow things down.

"Hopefully we'll be back playing as soon as possible, I think that's the goal.

"I think we just have to accept it and sit tight and when it does pass, we can get things moving a bit quicker."

Irish Open breakthrough

Sharvin is speaking from his apartment in Dublin, where he has been based since September 2018.

The move down south led to an upturn in form. After a two-stroke penalty at Q School saw him miss out on his European Tour card by a single shot in 2018, Sharvin relocated as part of his wider plan to vault himself out of the second-string Challenge Tour.

It proved to be the right move. He showed impressive consistency during the 2019 season and proved his elite-level credentials with a tie for 15th finish at the Irish Open, ending the week as the leading home competitor.

"I think I've trended in my career and made a big step last year," he adds.

"I had a really good year, I put myself into contention a lot which was great. I think I was ready to take that step and I think the way I played, I deserved to get my card in the end with a few good results.

Cormac Sharvin
Sharvin was the leading home competitor at last year's Irish Open

"I also managed to play well in a couple of European Tour events as well which showed me that I was ready to take that step. There's a relief that I have my card now but it's only the start of it - I know I have to keep improving and moving up the rankings."

While finishing above future Open champion Shane Lowry, Ryder Cup star Tommy Fleetwood and former world number one Lee Westwood was no mean feat, Sharvin's admission of feeling disappointed at failing to mount a final-round charge at Lahinch is a measure of his self-confidence.

Having relished the intense pressure, he hopes it's a sign of things to come.

"It was disappointing to shoot level-par on Sunday, but I feel like I didn't do much wrong.

"It was really nice to have that pressure of going into the final round of a big European Tour event with a chance to win. It showed me where I was mentally and physically, that I was able to come from the Challenge Tour and compete in a top-level European Tour event.

"That was an unbelievable week. The crowds were incredible and I attracted a big following being the leading Irishman, and that was a great feeling.

"It's a nice feeling when hundreds of people are following you and everyone is willing your ball into the hole. I think that really geared me up quite a lot. It was a class buzz.

"It was difficult going back to playing the Challenge Tour in the middle of nowhere in France the week after, but that week gave me the confidence to string together more good results to get off the Challenge Tour."

'I didn't focus solely on golf until I was nearly 18'

While Rory McIlroy was introduced to golf at a remarkably young age and seemed destined for stardom, Sharvin was a latecomer to golf.

A keen hurler and gaelic footballer in his youth, it wasn't until he damaged ankle ligaments while playing the latter that forced him into a career rethink.

By the time he decided to focus on golf, he was nearly 18. That he secured full playing privileges on the European Tour within a decade of that is a striking demonstration of his talent.

He still enjoys the odd 'puck about' with the hurl but there can be little doubt over ultimately choosing golf.

Sharvin admits it's been a slow start on the European Tour, with a tie for 36th in the Oman Open his best return in four starts this year, but his belief in being able to compete at the higher end of leaderboards remains undimmed.

"I feel like my game is good, but I haven't really put all the facets together.

"I think in Oman I was second in strokes gained tee-to-green and just putted really poorly, I played quite nicely in Qatar and just didn't get it going.

"It's obviously such a short period of time so it's hard to assess in four events, but I feel like I'm close. This break may help me improve other things and hopefully I'm a better player when we start again."

When golf does return, the world number 318 hopes to recapture his best form and prove his worth as a potential Ryder Cup player in the years ahead.

Further to a belief in his golf game, Sharvin feels as though a wealth of experience in team sports - including an unbeaten 3-0 performance at the 2015 Walker Cup - would benefit him should he ever qualify for the sport's biennial showpiece.

"The Ryder Cup would definitely be up there for me.

"I grew up playing team sports and have been involved with them my whole life, so that would be huge.

"I feel like I'm pretty good in a team and having tasted a little success in team sports, I think that if I can get my game to that level, I'd be a good asset in that sense."

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