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The 151st Open

Matthew Jordan


Royal Liverpool member relishes the first shot of The 151st Open

Matthew Jordan

Matthew Jordan cannot count the number of times he has stood on Royal Liverpool’s 1st tee box and stared down the fairway, dreaming of playing The Open at his home course.

And yet no amount of practice is enough to fully prepare him for what’s to come on Thursday when the 27-year-old lines up the 459-yard par-4 hole and hits the first shot of The 151st Open.

No-one in the field has played the famous Hoylake links more than Jordan, and he will rely on all of that accumulated experience when he picks out either a wood or iron – depending on both the wind, and how brave he’s feeling – at 6.35am.

Jordan, who grew up in nearby West Kirby and lives in Hoylake, has been a member at Royal Liverpool since the age of seven, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather.

He booked his place at The Open through Final Qualifying at West Lancashire earlier this month, and will compete in golf’s original major for the second time after also teeing it up at St Andrews last year.

However, despite the unique celebration of The 150th Open, this will mean more to him.

"It's an amazing honour," he said.

"I'm sure the first tee, no matter what, was going to be special, but obviously to have this as a kid growing up, I used to wake up early, 6:30, and that was The Open commencing. I've got fond memories so to have this honour is brilliant."

This is not the first Open Jordan has attended at Hoylake. He was a 10-year-old with an autograph book in 2006, and then an 18-year-old protégé picking up tips eight years later.

While he was once a star-struck fan chasing his heroes, he is now the local expert showing them the ropes.

“I remember seeing Tiger [Woods] in '06 on the putting green, and I just could not approach him,” he added.

“I think I saw him actually when it was here in 2014, as well, and I still couldn't approach him then.

“He walked through the clubhouse on a Sunday trying to register and I just froze. And then again, as I say, in '06 he was on the putting green and I don't think I moved for 20 minutes.

“He was my hero, and being able to see him in the flesh and watching him do what he did, especially around your home course, was immense.

Matthew Jordan

“A couple of players have approached me so far but I've only just arrived. I might pick and choose what I tell people.”

The first shot is always a landmark event at The Open, with packed stands there to see Darren Clarke at Royal Portrush in 2019 and Paul Lawrie last year.

And despite the early start, Hoylake will be loud come 6.35am with Jordan snagging countless tickets for his friends and family. 

“They're going to be here, they're going to be loud, they're going to offer me support,” he said.

They are also watching one of the most intriguing players in the field. 

Jordan might be an outsider this week but he cannot be discounted – especially if his record round of 62 around these parts is anything to go by.

He admits to hoping the wind picks up and the course firms up, creating tricky conditions that will force players to adapt their game and allow his local knowledge to come to the fore.

But an Open is different to the standard set-up, and Jordan says he’s trying to keep expectations low.

“Ultimately I want to perform. That is my main goal,” he said.

“I just want to play the golf course like I know I can, like I do in practice, like I normally will if I'm here preparing for any other events.

“And if I feel like I can do that, then I know that I can do well around here. For me it's not letting the occasion dictate what I exactly do. It's just me playing the golf course.”

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