Northern Ireland’s Cormac Sharvin seized the lead after a late charge in round one of the English Championship at Hanbury Manor.

As his compatriot Rory McIlroy began his challenge at the US PGA Championship, Sharvin caused heads to turn in Hertfordshire when he produced a sparkling eight-under-par 63.

There had looked like being an overnight tie for the lead until his thrilling performance in the final group of the day, with Sharvin making 10 birdies, dropping two shots along the way.

The 27-year-old former Walker Cup player, who earned his European Tour card last year with six top-five finishes on the Challenge Tour, leapfrogged a group of six players on seven under, among them Belgium’s Thomas Detry.

Detry last week went agonisingly close to a first European Tour title when he finished just one shot back from Sam Horsfield at the English Open.

Going round in 64 on Thursday helped to quell the disappointment of last week’s close call, and Detry said of his round: “It was really good. I’ve been building some momentum from last week.

“I got off to a very good start – eagle chance on the second and a short birdie putt at the third and then I was just rolling, four more birdies on the last four holes of the front nine and then I kept it going.

“I made two little mistakes at 17, which is a tough hole, and on 11, but I’m very pleased with the way I’m playing golf right now.”

Reviewing his brush with silverware last week, Detry told the European Tour website: “You’ve just got to forget about it. You see it as another chance this week to put my name up there and have a chance on Sunday.

“That’s what I think I’ve done today – hopefully I can keep it going the next few days.”

Lee Westwood, who opted out of playing the US PGA due to concerns about travel to the United States while coronavirus remains such a problem, put himself into a promising position from where he might strike.

The 47-year-old Englishman shot a five-under 66 to sit in a share of 20th place, on a day of low scoring, with Andrew Johnston and Miguel Angel Jimenez on the same mark.