Just five years after taking up the game, 20-year old Cormac Sharvin from Ardglass Golf Club beat Greytsones’ Paul Dunne by 1 hole to claim the AIG sponsored Irish Amateur Close Championship at Connemara, writes the GUI.
Not only that, he became only he third player since Pádraig Harrington and Gareth McGimpsey to triumph after also claiming the silver medal as leading qualifier.
Showing the kind of grit and a mental strength rarely seen in those so new to the game and having disposed of Greystones’ 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 in what was his first ever major championship.
“It was really weird,” the champion said. “At the start of my matches, I don’t feel I am in a match. Then when I get through a few holes I just feel as 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. Having won the eighth hole with a par, the pair stood on the tenth tee just 95 minutes after starting in a display of how highly competitive golf can be played at a reasonable pace.
Sharvin pressed Dunne even further, and a birdie two at the par three eleventh 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 ten feet short and when Sharvin missed the par putt, the door was open for Dunne, who had been taken to an extra hole by Naas’ Jonathan Yates in the semi-finals earlier in the day.
Sharvin demonstrated his composure by making a stunning par on sixteen. 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 ten-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 fifteen feet, but Sharvin played his third to ten-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 hole to win.
“I’m speechless, absolutely speechless. It’s mad,” he beamed afterwards. “To be honest 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. It’s mental.”
Sharvin becomes only the third Silver Medal winner to go on to win, following in the footsteps of Padraig Harrington (1995) and Garth McGimpsey (1988)
Irish Amateur Close Championship, Connemara Golf Club
Sponsored by AIG
C Sharvin (Ardglass) bt D Byrne (Greystones) 4/3;
P Dunne (Greystones) bt J Yates (Naas) 19th
C Sharvin bt P Dunne 1 hole.