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Cormac Sharvin and Paul Dunne are just two of the Irish golfers competing in this week’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Galgorm Spa and Golf Resort, Co. Antrim. Both spoke of their current form and hope for this year’s championship.
Ardglass-native Cormac Sharvin, who was the leading Irishman at last year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Lahinch, Co. Clare, is delighted to be back playing in Ireland.
“It’s an opportunity to play on home turf” admitted Sharvin, “I haven’t played great in the last while. I had a good week off last week, reflecting and trying to get back to things that worked for me last year. I’m trying to get back into that trying to tidy up my swing. My game is in the best place it has been all year coming into this week, whether I play well or not is a different story. I feel like I’m moving in the right direction with my game, hopefully I can put four good rounds together this week.”
Discussing the Galgorm course, the Ulsterman, who was 19th at The English Championship in early August, said:
“I know this course really well. I’ve played a lot of golf here. It’s a good test, the rough is thick. My game is pretty suited to a course like this, you have to drive it well. Tee to green it’s a good test so it should set up pretty well.”
The twenty-eight-year-old has struggled with the bubble professional golfers have found themselves in recent weeks, since the re-starting of competition:
“From the outset I was saying I wasn’t struggling and that I didn’t mind it. But on reflection it’s something I have struggled with. I find it hard separating my golf from chilling at the hotel. I feel like I’ve been uneasy with the whole thing, but I’ve done work on it to try and reframe it and get myself in a good place going into weeks rather than feeling like I’m pushing. It felt like I was rushing my weeks and wasn’t relaxed – I couldn’t wait to get out the bubble. I’m going to have to adapt and get better at dealing with it. I met with my team last week and we’re reframing it in a way that is beneficial to me.”
Reflecting on the usual experience of having to play without crowds at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, Sharvin says:
“It’s a good chance to do well this week. The big challenge is going to be playing without crowds. I’ve played here a lot, even at Challenge Tour events we get good crowds and I seem to get a decent following – I’ve fed off that. It’s something I’ll have to look at this week and I’ll have to gee myself up.”
Greystones golfer Paul Dunne fully agrees with Cormac Sharvin about the strange feeling surrounding this year’s competition:
“It feels a bit weird, it almost doesn’t feel like we’re at home. The Irish fans are usually so loud and they come out in big numbers. It’s different, but it’s nice to be driving my own car, staying relatively close to home, home comforts. Hopefully I can perform.
The Irishman feels he’s adapting well to the ‘new normal’ on the European Tour, stating:
“I’m adapting OK, it is what it is. The weeks are a little bit more mundane than they usually are, you can’t get out and about and do things and your dinner companions are the same every night. Look, it beats sitting at home being locked down, it’s a much better alternative.”
The twenty-seven-year-old spoke about the challenge of the Galgorm, Co. Antrim course, offering:
“The course is all about your tee shots, it’s pretty narrow off the tee. It doesn’t give you much respite. It’s all about keeping it – you would say between the tree line – but there’s decent room between the tree line, but the fairways are fairly narrow and the rough between the fairway and the trees is extremely thick. Especially when it’s wet, you can’t get much out of it at all.”
With the Dublin-born player experiencing problems with a hand injury of later, he states his current goals are “just to get back fit and get my game back in a shape where I feel like I can move forward. I don’t have any short term goals because I don’t know what the future holds.”
Back on home soil this week should give Dunne an opportunity to fully access where his game is right now, and he is “just ready to go out and play and be able to practice as free as I can.”