Belfast Telegraph

Sharvin in with big shout as Ross leads the way

 

Leading man: Craig Ross got off to a great start in Antrim
Leading man: Craig Ross got off to a great start in Antrim
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Craig Ross holds the first round lead on the men's side of the draw at the ISPS Handa World Invitational after firing an opening six-under 64 at Massereene for a one-shot advantage.

The 26-year-old Scot was blemish free in his opening round, starting on the 10th and making the turn in one-under before carding five birdies in his final six holes to top the leaderboard.

Ross is clear by one shot from Richard Mansell (England) and Gary Stal (France), who both shot five-under 65s, also around Massereene.

"Great to put a 64 together. I've had some poor performances to start the season, so it's nice to be able to put a strong score together out there," said Ross.

"I was missing a few greens early on but made some good up-and-downs over my opening nine, and then on the closing nine I was just able to slot in some birdie putts, and obviously great to finish with five birdies in the last six holes.

"I really enjoyed playing in the Jordan Mixed Open, where we were paired up with one woman and a senior. I know this event is a little bit different in that we are not playing directly against the girls but it's cool to see another format like this on the schedule and I've been really enjoying the experience so far.''

Ardglass ace Cormac Sharvin is the best of the local hopes as his two-under 68 at Massereene sees him in a tie for 20th going into today's second round.

"Played really nicely tee to green, so it's probably as bad a score as it could have been," claimed Sharvin, who carded three birdies and one bogey.

"Gave myself good chances on practically every hole, drove it well and my iron play was very good. It was playing tricky, a lot trickier than I thought it was going to be, so I'm pretty happy with two-under.

"Can't win it on the first day, you can only lose it, and two-under has put me in a decent position. Solid start, I managed things well and stayed patient."

Defending champion Calum Hill began his quest for automatic promotion to the European Tour with a four-under 68 at Massereene.

The field's in-form player, having won two of his last three events, should the Scot defend his title then he would automatically gain European Tour rights by winning three events on the second tier.

Hill is tied on four-under with James Freeman (England), Lars van Meijel (Holland) and Damien Perrier (France).

Of the other local players, Ballymena's Dermot McElroy signed for a one-under 69 at Galgorm, while 16-year-old Galgorm amateur Josh Hill carded a level-par 70 around his home course for an excellent opening round.

Another amateur, Matthew McClean (Malone), is also level-par after shooting 70 at Galgorm, however Michael Hoey had a difficult start, struggling to a four-over par 74 at Galgorm.

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