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The 151st Open

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Fans turn out in force as Jordan begins The 151st Open

Matthew Jordan

Royal Liverpool has crowned 10 Champion Golfers but the sight of one of their own starting and then leading The 151st Open may just be the proudest moment in its illustrious history.

For Matthew Jordan, it was without doubt the experience of a lifetime.

The 27-year-old hit the first shot at 6:35am and then completed an impressive 69 in front of family, friends and his fellow Hoylake members in glorious sunshine at his home course.

He landed the first birdie of the week, held the lead outright for a handful of holes, and kept his cool on the treacherous back nine, before being cheered down the 18th.

Jordan’s expression barely changing apart from the odd shared smile with loved ones in the crowd, he could not contain his pride when it was all said and done.

“Amazing,” he summarised.

“I'm kind of running out of words to describe it. It was crazy, mental, loud, everything that I could have wished for.

“I'm certainly trying to think of a better experience than that, and I don't think I can. Obviously, with the occasion and everything going on to start with, I'm really happy to certainly break 70.

“I think that's one thing, if you do that, you certainly can't be displeased.”

The goodwill towards Jordan was infectious. Every shot was applauded, bad bounce consoled and putt encouraged to drop in the hole.

The early alarms across Merseyside were certainly made more than worth it as members and locals turned out in force to see him begin proceedings.

Cheers and countless shouts of ‘go on Matty’ greeted the announcement of his arrival on the tee but nerves were inevitable and Jordan found rough on the left with his opening shot.

The gallery was five-deep for much of the round, mostly made up of family, friends and Royal Liverpool members – even if his girlfriend, Kate Harry, had to go to work after watching the first seven holes.

“I saw so many different members,” he added.

“It's hard to put a number on it, and it's hard to actually tell you who was there. I just saw them dotted around all the time.

“To have that level of support and have people want you to do so well, it's just amazing.

“Kate works with European Tour productions, so she works in the big green trucks. She got up early at 6:00am I think it was, and she's not finishing until 9:00pm herself. She's got a few brownie points there, and I'll have to treat her to a sandwich or something!”

Jordan’s story has captured the imagination of the public – one spectator travelled 125 miles through the night from Birmingham to make the first tee and then followed every hole – but there is a serious competition at hand.

He started with an understandably nervous tee shot on the 1st but scrambled a par and then followed with a birdie on 2 to briefly take the lead.

A second birdie followed at 5, before two more birdies and two bogeys - one despite a stunning escape from a bunker on 11 - completed a fine day’s work.

A score of 69 puts him in a strong position early on and Jordan is confident he can build on a promising start.

“I want something similar, however, I don't think I'll have to visualise it as much, now that I'm in the Championship and now that I know what to expect," he added. "I think it'll come a bit more natural to me.

“Again, we'll just be doing the same stuff in terms of making sure that I hit the shots that I want to, that I know I should be doing anyway.

“I think it'll be more like that, really more performance instead of an emotion side of it.”

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