Cormac Sharvin won’t let focus drift to Portrush dream

Cormac Sharvin knows it is only human to think about it but the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open’s leading Irishman is determined to not let thoughts of a place in this month’s Open Championship at Royal Portrush interfere with the business at hand.

The Ardglass golfer’s second-round 69 at Lahinch kept the tournament invitee on course for the top-10 finish that could earn him one of the three starting berths for the final major of the year for those not otherwise exempt. With The Open being staged so close to home, the Co. Down man could be forgiven for dreaming about playing a major in his backyard but he knows that could be potentially fatal to those hopes.

“One shot at a time,” Sharvin, 26, insisted. “That shouldn’t dictate how I treat the next shot. I have been working really hard over taking every shot, not trying to gain any momentum. I really feel like there is no such thing as momentum, take one shot at a time and see everything with new eyes.

“We are all human, thoughts 100 per cent are going to pop into your head. If you try and block them, I don’t think it is the right thing to do. I let them come and go kind of thing and then just refocus. I would be lying if I said thoughts didn’t come into my mind, lots of things can go wrong out there. It is nice to take one shot at a time.

“It would be great to play (at Portrush). I have an event on the Challenge Tour that week, so depending on how this week goes I will either be playing in the Open or on the Challenge Tour. Either way, I will treat it as any other event.”

Sharvin has learned to be mentally strong and had the opportunity to put that into practice at last November’s European Tour Q-School when he missed out on a full card by one shot having incurred a two-shot penalty in his final round for taking a tee shot millimetres in front of the tee markers.

“I’ve done a good job to put that to the back of my mind straight away. You are going to get knocked down in golf and it is how you come back that shows the most character.

“I have been playing really consistent. I feel like I have made a big jump this winter in the work I have been doing which I think is going to hold me in good stead.”

Sharvin’s work with high-performance coach and Irish Examiner columnist Dr Ed Coughlan is reaping rewards.

“The work I have been doing has all been geared towards playing in front of big crowds under pressure,” he said.

“I kind of went back to what I have always done. I never have really worked on my golf swing, I have gone back to just playing golf and not beating balls on the range, just playing golf on a course and putting myself under pressure in my practice so that when I get onto a golf course I know what it feels like to be under pressure, that’s what the basis of my work is.

“I come out here on Tour and you see everyone beating balls on the range and you kind of think you should be doing that but I kind of got away from what had worked for me since I was 15 years.

“I have just been back doing that putting myself under pressure in my practice rounds and learning how to deal with that when it comes to tournament rounds.”

With a place high on the leaderboard at the midway point in Lahinch, Sharvin has a weekend of putting that work into practice as well as adapting well to changing conditions as he did yesterday morning when the rain came after a sun-baked opening day.

“Today played so much different to yesterday, just so much more difficult. You just have to adapt to what the weather throws at you, there is going to be no one shooting the lights.

“You have got to adapt. The course will dictate the scoring. I like it when it gets a little bit dirty, when it gets grindy. I don’t shy away from that, I come into my element then. But I also feel like I can compete in the weeks where it is birdie-fest putting competition.”

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