Jordan takes early lead over British Masters host Fleetwood

Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Jordan takes early lead over British Masters host Fleetwood

Euro Tour

Jordan takes early lead over British Masters host Fleetwood

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HILLSIDE, England – Matthew Jordan once had to cajole a friend into getting him a round with Tommy Fleetwood. Jordan didn’t let hero worship get in the way in the first round of the $3.4 Betfred British Masters.

Jordan beat tournament host Fleetwood by five shots. The 23-year-old Englishman returned an opening, bogey free 63, 9 under to take the lead. Not bad for a guy only playing in his ninth European Tour event since turning professional in September last year.

The Royal Liverpool member is playing this week on a sponsor’s invite. Jordan failed to get his card at last year’s European Tour Qualifying School and is playing wherever he can get invites this year. He only found out on Sunday he was in the field. Luckily, he only lives an hour away in Hoylake and is able to commute from the family home this week.

He’s familiar with Hillside having played it about “seven or eight times.” Two of those rounds came in Open Qualifying for the 2016 Open Championship when he was still an amateur.

The softly spoken Englishman considers Fleetwood one of his heroes, so much so that he got to play with him via the friend of a friend route.

“I know one of his good friends (Tom Boys) who played in the England (amateur) squad with him. They grew up together and they were good mates. I said, cheekily, ‘could I play with Tommy if I get the chance’ and we did that at Hoylake a couple of times.”

Jordan was good enough to have played in the 2017 Walker Cup at Los Angeles Country Club. He made that team through winning the St. Andrews Links Trophy at St. Andrews. He also won last year’s Lytham Trophy by nine shots. Needless to say, he’s at home on courses near the sea.

“Links golf just suits my eye really, especially on the greens. I just seem to see the lines having been brought up on links.”

Jordan warmed up for his debut British Masters with a T-7 finish in the Turkish Airlines Challenge on the European Challenge Tour last month. He shot a 10-under 62 in Turkey. So perhaps his low round here is no surprise. However, he’s not getting ahead of himself.

“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 mind-set to go again tomorrow. Today is a different day.”

Jordan reached number four on the World Amateur Golf Ranking, back when his handicap was plus 7. But he’s not found the going as easy in the pro ranks. Fleetwood is hoping this week can change that.

“We all know what he’s capable of,” Fleetwood said. “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. Now the experience being at the top of the leaderboard for a few days will be really, really good for his confidence.”

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