Ulster golf ace Cormac Sharvin is predicting a record-breaking Walker Cup side
Cormac Sharvin believes Ireland could claim a record five spots in the Walker Cup side and this week's Irish Amateur Open is just the place for hopefuls to showcase their talent.
The 22-year-old from Ardglass is very much one of the leading contenders following last Sunday's brilliant share of second place in the Lytham Trophy at the venue that will host the Walker Cup from September 12-13.
And while Walker skipper Nigel Edwards will be on duty elsewhere, at least one R&A selector will be at Royal Dublin this week and he will be keeping a close eye on the Irish who will play three rounds at the famous Dollymount links over the next three days before the 120-strong field is cut to the top 50 and ties for Sunday's final round.
Ireland had three men in the 1991 Walker Cup side but it seemed improbable until now that the class of 1949 that saw Joe Carr, Cecil Ewing and Jimmy Bruen joined by British Amateur champion Sam McCready at Winged Foot could be matched.
"I think that's definitely possible," Sharvin said of the Irish squad that won last year's Home Internationals and finished second to Spain in the European Team Championships.
"Out of the four home nations we've got the strongest team right now. With the likes of Gary (Hurley), Jack (Hume), Gavin (Moynihan), myself, Paul (Dunne) and Dermot (McElroy) it is nearly as strong a team as we have ever had, apart from the Shane Lowry/Rory McIlroy era perhaps.
"I do think we could have five in the side, 100%. But again, the Walker Cup is in September, so there's a lot of golf to be played between now and then."
Sharvin jumped 22 spots to a career-high of 41st in the latest World Amateur Golf Rankings after pushing Sweden's Marcus Kinhult all the way at Royal Lytham and St Annes last Sunday.
He was also joint second behind Scotland's Jamie Savage in the Irish Amateur Open last year and he's one of the hot favourites to lift the title alongside his Ireland team-mates, defending champion Savage and reigning British Amateur champion Bradley Neil.
Danish duo Thomas Bjorn and Thorbjorn Olesen will look to get injury-plagued seasons back on track in the inaugural AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, the first tournament to be tri-sanctioned by the European, Asian and Sunshine Tours.
Bjorn has been struggling with a back injury and Olesen underwent surgery on a hand injury in March, meaning the pair have each been limited to four European Tour events in 2015.
"I've not played much golf this year because of injury, and the tournaments I have played have been the difficult ones, so it will be nice to get out and play some golf again and be competitive," said Bjorn.