NI Open – Cormac Sharvin carries home hopes into Shootout Sunday
The stage is set for an action-packed final day at the Galgorm Resort & Spa Northern Ireland Open presented by Modest! Golf.
Following three rounds of stroke play and two cuts, the field of 156 has been reduced to 24 players for today’s Shootout Sunday.
In this new format, competitors will engage in a series of head-to-head knock-out stroke play matches, with the player with the lowest total score over six holes progressing through the rounds.
A special shootout hole, a shortened version of the 18th, will be used should a playoff be required after any of the games.
Cormac Sharvin will carry home hopes into Sunday after booking his place in today’s finale with a fine five-under-par 66 that saw him move up 21 places on the leaderboard.
The Ardglass golfer will meet Portugal’s Ricardo Santos in round one this morning for the chance to face Chile’s Nico Geyger.
“I know Ricardo very well – I played a lot of Algarve golf with him in the winter,” said Cormac.
“He’s a really nice guy and he is obviously very experienced – he has played a lot of years on the European Tour.
“It will be a tough game but I think, If I can keep playing the way that I am playing – if I play well for six holes – I think I can beat him.”
Cormac was the only Irish golfer to make the third round cut which fell at five under par. Tournament ambassador Michael Hoey carded a third round one under par 70 to miss out as did Damien McGrane, Simon Thornton, Kevin Phelan and Neil O’Briain.
The 24-year-old Sharvin was weighing up his tactics ahead of his opening tee-shot today at 8.30am.
“It’s hard to know with this format. All you can do is play well and hope that it’s good enough,” he added.
“You are essentially playing your opponent but it is stroke play as well. It’s a weird format but obviously, if you are two or three shots ahead playing the last you will play it as a three-shotter.
“The beauty of this format is that you can shoot four over for six holes and still potentially make it through.
“All you can do is take it one shot at a time. You have to play smart because six holes isn’t very much so you have to take your chances.”
Sharvin at least had the luxury of booking his place in today’s field with some room to spare. A five-man playoff for the final two spots was required to determine the top 24
Austrian Matthias Schwab topped the three round leaderboard on 11 under par but Wil Besseling, Steven Brown, Julian Kunzenbacher, Max Orrin and Manuel Trappel all tied on five under par after 54 holes and had to go down the 18th again.
Orrin’s birdie on the first extra hole took him into Shootout Sunday, with Brown dropping out with a bogey; the other three all parred before Trappel birdied at the second time of asking and took the final place in the top 24.