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Sharvin heads the home challenge as Kim sets pace

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Eyes on prize: Stuart Manley stays bang in contention during his second round at the Northern Ireland Open at Galgorm Castle yesterday, shooting a three-under par 68 to sit just one shot off the lead

Eyes on prize: Stuart Manley stays bang in contention during his second round at the Northern Ireland Open at Galgorm Castle yesterday, shooting a three-under par 68 to sit just one shot off the lead

Eyes on prize: Stuart Manley stays bang in contention during his second round at the Northern Ireland Open at Galgorm Castle yesterday, shooting a three-under par 68 to sit just one shot off the lead

A week away from the churn of tournament golf appears to have done wonders for Cormac Sharvin.

The Ardglass golfer fired a superb bogey-free six under par 65 to force his way into contention on day two of the Galgorm Resort and Spa NI Open, presented by Modest! Golf.

"I was struggling a bit over the last five weeks so I made a slightly ballsy decision to take the week off last week, so late in the year," said the 25-year-old who is ranked 103rd in the Road to Ras Al Khaimah rankings.

"I just wasn't getting the most out of my game. So I got my team together, Paul Vaughan (coach), Michael Welsh (swing coach) and Ed Coughlan (performance coach), we got lots of really good work done.

"That gave me a little bit of confidence coming into this week as well. I felt really prepared for this week, mentally and swinging a lot better too.

"We got a good bit of work done on my swing, which had got a bit out of sync. It seems to have clicked and is working so far."

Sharvin made a great start to his round with birdies at the first and second and he continued to press in some wet and windy conditions.

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He added; "Six under is never bad on any course. Got off to a good start, hit good shot into the first and holed across the slope. Had two-putt birdie on two. Then pretty steady from there on in.

"I hit a couple of loose shots but kind of scrambled well. It wasn't totally flawless out there, I managed myself very well around the golf course. Managed to birdie nine to go out in three under which was nice.

"I holed a tramliner across the green for birdie at 11. Then made a few pars, missed a few chances. Made a nice 15 footer downhill for birdie on 16. Hit a really nice second shot into 17 and managed to hole that as well.

"It was pretty miserable out there at times, there were lots of squally showers. The wind was switching around and I got fooled a couple of times with the breeze, trying to work out if it was hurting or helping. Probably one of the nicest rounds I have had this year."

Sharvin finished the day on 10 under par alongside Denmark's Mark Flindt Hasstrup, Welshman Stuart Manley and Frenchman Victor Perez.

The 25-year-old Perez reached the turn in a blistering seven under par 28 and admitted that he briefly considered the possibility of breaking 60 before reality set in on the back nine.

"You have to realise that what I did on the front nine was not normal," he said.

"It's one of those things that happens every once in a while. You take as much as you can but sadly you know that at some stage, your game will level out.

"After my birdie at 10 - I definitely thought I was in the mix for a 59 but it is something you can't think about. You've just got to go one shot at a time. I was just trying to do as well as I could and had looks at 11 and 13 but couldn't convert them."

Welshman Manley, joint leader overnight, lost ground on South Korea's Minkyu Kim who finished the day on 11-under-par.

"Today my putting was really, really good. My long game was okay but it was my short game that was the difference today," said Kim who, at 17, became the youngest player to win on the Challenge Tour following his victory in the D+D REAL Czech Challenge in May.

"I holed a 40-foot putt on the 16th which was my best moment from today.

"I nearly ruined my score on the par three fifth where I hit such a solid three iron that it went over the green - then I hit a bad approach and three-putted.

"I went on to finish with an eagle and, because of that, I am feeling very positive about tomorrow.

"The weather was very tough over the front nine as it was very windy, but on the back nine it got a lot better.

"I have been in this position before so I feel confident. I have won once this year already and I think that experience will help me over the weekend."

The cut fell at level par and with three Northern Ireland players sitting inside the top 25 at the halfway stage, they are sure to attract significant crowds when the tournament restarts today.


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