Sharvin becomes Irish Close champ

Just five years after taking up the game, 20-year-old Cormac Sharvin from Ardglass Golf Club became the Irish champion at Connemara yesterday, beating Paul Dunne by one hole in the final.

Sharvin becomes Irish Close champ

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 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 and showed no signs of nerves.

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 10th tee just 95 minutes after starting in a display of how competitive golf can be played at a reasonable pace.

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 and 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 hole to win.

“I’m speechless, absolutely speechless. It’s mad,” he beamed.

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