Sharvin goes from silver to gold after sealing glory in Irish Close
Just five years after taking up the game, 20-year-old Cormac Sharvin from Ardglass Golf Club became the Irish Close champion, beating Paul Dunne of Greystones by one hole in the final at Connemara yesterday.
Sharvin, who won the Silver Medal as leading qualifier in the AIG-sponsored event, showed grit and a mental strength rarely seen in those so new to the game.
Having disposed of another Greystones man, David Byrne, in the morning semi-final, the Co Down man was in control for much of the final against Dunne, showing no signs of nerves.
"It was really weird. At the start of my matches, I don't feel I am in a match," said Sharvin. "Then when I get through a few holes I just feel as if I am getting better and better as the round goes on. I felt comfortable with my swing the whole way round."
Having lost the first hole to a par, Sharvin composed himself and won the next two holes to edge ahead. He then won the eighth hole with a par as the pair played the front nine in just 95 minutes.
Sharvin pressed Dunne even further, and a birdie two at the par-three 11th saw him take a three-hole lead. But a misjudged putt on the par-three 13th, that didn't allow for the heavy rain, came up 10 feet short. When Sharvin missed the par putt, the door was opened for Dunne, who earlier in the day had been taken to an extra hole in his semi-final by Jonathan Yates from Naas.
Sharvin demonstrated his composure by making a stunning par on 16. Having been in thick rough, he hacked out to 75 yards short of the green, pitched to five feet and holed the putt to stay two holes to the good. Dunne's solid par wasn't enough to make ground.
When Sharvin missed a 10-footer on the penultimate hole and Dunne rolled in a short putt for birdie, the deficit was just one heading for the last. Both players laid up at the last, having found rough off the tee. Dunne knocked his third from 160 yards in to 15 feet, but Sharvin played his third to 10 feet, putting the pressure right back on Dunne.
The East of Ireland champion knew what he had to do and, in holing a right-to-left putt down the hill, made Sharvin putt for the title. There was never any doubt and Sharvin hit the back of the cup.
"It's mad," he beamed. "I was totally zoned in, you probably saw it with a few wedge shots. I was trying to grind it. On the 17th I hit the purest putt, I don't know how it missed. I was just pumping going up the last; I'm still shaking."
Sharvin becomes only the third Silver Medal winner to go on to win, following in the footsteps of Garth McGimpsey (1988) and Padraig Harrington (1995).
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