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Jordan keeping cool head as he leads £500k hunt

 

In front: Matthew Jordan on his way to a course record 63
In front: Matthew Jordan on his way to a course record 63

By Phil Casey

Matthew Jordan vowed not to get carried away by the prospect of winning £500k after making the most of a late tournament invite to card a stunning course record of 63 in the first round of the British Masters.

Playing just his 12th event as a professional, the Englishman defied wet and chilly conditions at Hillside to fire nine birdies and no bogeys and end the day with a two-shot lead over compatriot Matt Wallace and Sweden's Marcus Kinhult.

The 23-year-old from nearby Hoylake turned professional in September 2018 after a stellar amateur career which saw him reach fifth in the world rankings and enjoy a nine-shot victory in the prestigious Lytham Trophy.

Tournament host Tommy Fleetwood, who was five shots off the lead after an opening 68, said: "I've known him for a long time, we all know what he's capable of. That's a tremendous first round and I think it will be good for him now.

"I've seen some of his scores and he's not played as well as I know he wants to this year, but when you're first turning pro it's different and now the experience being at the top of the leaderboard will be really, really good."

Jordan's best result to date is a tie for seventh in a Challenge Tour event a fortnight ago in Turkey, where he carded a second-round 62, while his career earnings of £57k are dwarfed by the prize of £500k this week.

"You never quite expect it," said Jordan. "I knew I had been playing quite well and just from the get-go it started perfectly and from then on I just kept it going.

"You start to realise you're doing quite well because more people turn up and you see a couple of cameras. I was nervous maybe for a couple of holes, like around 11 and 12, and then I settled back into it which was quite strange.

"It's only 18 holes. I'm just going to do what I need to do now and kind of refocus because I know it's going to be tough tomorrow. I need to get into that mindset to go again tomorrow."

Jordan is currently relying on invites after failing to advance beyond the second stage of the qualifying school, but Fleetwood insisted on leaving the decision over who received them this week to European Tour officials, despite the pair's friendship.

"I knew one of his good friends who played with him in the England squad and I said cheekily could I play with Tommy if I ever get the chance," Jordan explained. "We played a couple of times at Hoylake and he's a really nice guy. I got the invitation on Sunday and I'm thankful."

Fleetwood admits it is "surreal" to see his face on the side of a bus used to promote the event in the town where he grew up and learnt the game.

"My dad has even been behind the wheel," the World No.16 said. "It is a pretty special thing for my parents. They've lived in Southport their whole lives and now their son's face is on the side of the bus."

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