Andy Sullivan misses TPC Sawgrass, settles for 67 for 1st round in Sicily

SCIACCA, ITALY - MAY 10: (EDITORS NOTE; This image was created with a polarizing filter). Andy Sullivan of England plays a shot during the first round of the The Rocco Forte Open at the Verdura Gol Resort on May 10, 2018 in Sciacca, Italy. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images) Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Andy Sullivan misses TPC Sawgrass, settles for 67 for 1st round in Sicily

Euro Tour

Andy Sullivan misses TPC Sawgrass, settles for 67 for 1st round in Sicily

Andy Sullivan probably thought he’d be teeing it up in the Players Championship on a regular basis when he made his debut two years ago. However, he’s in Sicily this week instead of Sawgrass.

That’s how far down the world order Sullivan has fallen. The genial Englishman has slipped to 141st on the Official World Golf Ranking from a high of 28 in February 2016.

Sullivan is trying to get back to the sort of form that saw him win three times in 2015 and make his Ryder Cup debut in 2016. An opening 4-under-par 67 in the $1.2 million Rocco Forte Sicilian Open should help.

The 30-year-old Englishman sits in third place, two shots behind countryman Ryan Evans and Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard. Sullivan began his round on the 10th hole, and punctuated it with consecutive birdies on the eighth and ninth holes, his 17th and 18th. 

“I just continued on my form really,” Sullivan said. “I felt really confident in my game. I’m not hitting masses of balls because it’s been quite windy, so I felt pretty confident around the greens and I’ve been putting in a lot of work on them. I just played really solid out there.

“I feel like I’ve made a lot of birdies this year, but I didn’t feel like I’ve got them in the bag to pull me out of trouble. My game is feeling in great shape and I’m going out there and making a lot of birdies at the moment.”

Sullivan backed up his 2015 season with five top 10s in 2016, including two runner-up finishes and a third. He only managed one top 10 last year, eighth in the Nordea Masters. He’s already notched two this year, sixth in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and seventh in the Trophée Hassan II. He’s made all eight cuts, but is desperate to get back to winning ways.

“There’s nothing better. It’s been long overdue for me, really. I feel like I’ve not hit the heights of 2015/16 so I think it’s time for me to really push on and try to get myself back on the right side of the leaderboard, get in the mix and enjoy the weekends more.”

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