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I belong here: Cormac Sharvin determined to prove his weekend worth in Irish Open contention

Cormac Sharvin is five under par at the midway point at the Irish Open.
Cormac Sharvin is five under par at the midway point at the Irish Open.
Padraig Harrington was three over after the opening five holes of his second round at Lahinch.
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

Cormac Sharvin says he's determined to prove he belongs at the top end of a European Tour leaderboard by staying there this weekend at the Irish Open.

The former Ardglass GC member is the leading Irishman at five under after two rounds in Lahinch, where he held his own during tough conditions on Friday morning.

The 'squally' showers and 'gusty' winds were enough to restrict overnight leader Padraig Harrington to a three over par 73, falling a shot behind Sharvin, who carded a one under 69 to add to his opening 66.

The leader is South African Zander Lombard who is in the clubhouse at nine under par, a shot ahead of Englishman Eddie Pepperell.

Sharvin, 26, has had his fair share of heartache, missing the cut by two on his Irish Open debut in Ballyliffin last year before suffering the real blow in tour school in November.

Shooting 15 under par for the tournament, he was just a single shot shy of getting his European Tour card. Taking into account the two-shot penalty he picked up for teeing up slightly in front of the markers on the par three seventh, it was a cruel blow.

As a result, the 2015 Walker Cup star relied on a sponsor's invite to feature at Lahinch this week but he has made the most of his opportunity, in contention for the title or at least a place at The Open.

"It's great to be in contention in my home event, I'm so excited for the weekend now," he said.

"I think for me, honestly, it's just try and treat it like any other event. It would have been easy for me to come down here on Sunday and play 18 holes, but I played holes and played the Pro-Am and hopefully that will work.

"I came here to try and compete, I feel like I belong there and hopefully I can show that.

"It’s a cliché, one shot at a time, that’s what I have been doing and that’s what I plan on doing the rest of the weekend. I'm going to chill and be the best that I can."

Sharvin must finish in the top 10 and as one of the top three unqualified players at the Irish Open this week to land a spot at this month's Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

He made a bogey on his opening hole on Friday but a birdie on the ninth got him going before two birdies sandwiched a bogey in his closing three holes for his second successive under par round.

He continued: "There were a lot of squally showers coming in and out, it was very difficult, more so to get the club right, because with the gusty winds and squally showers, the ball wouldn't travel and then it would travel.

"So we just had a tough job of trying to get it pin high, but I managed to grind really well when I missed a few greens and when I hit it to 40 feet, I managed to two-putt, so that's the way things went today.

"I had a really good birdie on 16 after making a really good par save on 15 to get it under par for the day and then obviously 17 is playing quite difficult.

"But I hit two good shots on the last and the birdie putt will make my lunch taste a bit nicer".

It was thanks to Harrington's disappointing second round that Sharvin became the leading Irishman in the field.

The overnight leader slipped to a disastrous four over par front nine before a closing birdie brought him in in 73 and four under par for the week.

“It really was tough conditions. Three of my bogeys were poor chips from the side of the green. I need to be a lot sharper with my short game," Harrington said.

"You have to stick in there and I was a little better on the back nine so hopefully I have not done too much damage. Four under par is still in it.

“Maybe I have another 63 in me over the weekend. I can see the faults and failings. My swing is a little shorter and tighter on a tight golf course but that’s more mental than physical.”

Keep up with day two's action at Lahinch here:

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