Matthew Jordan Walks on air at the open and is relishing the challenge of Royal Liverpool

new balance


As Matthew Jordan approached his ball, having pulled it 20 yards on the 16th hole, one of many friendly voices offered some reassurance.

‘I’ve seen the lie, Matty, and it’s fine,’ said a voice from the other side of the ropes.

Jordan smiled and winked at his godfather Stuart. Next to him was Jordan’s father Andy. And so it went on, Jordan’s uplifting journey round the hardening links of his home club veering wildly between the intimate and the very public.

As he walked off the 18th green after finishing an impressively steady round with a double bogey at 17 and an adventure that almost led to an unlikely birdie down the last, Jordan — one under for the tournament —stopped to sign a golf ball for a young boy.

‘My dad taught you business studies and says hello,’ said the youngster.

Local hero Matthew Jordan (pictured) has been relishing the challenge of Royal Liverpool

Local hero Matthew Jordan (pictured) has been relishing the challenge of Royal Liverpool

The Englishman finished up on Friday going a one-under par through 36 holes but while he was loving the support of the fans said he needed to stay focused

The Englishman finished up on Friday going a one-under par through 36 holes but while he was loving the support of the fans said he needed to stay focused 

Jordan said he was 'trying to calm myself down' amid the emotions of playing at his home course which has been a real challenge this week for many of the world's best

Jordan said he was ‘trying to calm myself down’ amid the emotions of playing at his home course which has been a real challenge this week for many of the world’s best 

What other kind of elite sport offers us this combination of elite standards and the sheer ordinary? It’s hard to think of one.

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For Jordan, only 27-years-old, the challenge has been to somehow separate the two things in his head and from that point of view his scorecard tells of a job well done.

When he holed a short putt that horse-shoed round the cup and in for par on the 16th green, Jordan was tied for sixth at three under par.

His golf around a loop that he knows so well had been as steadily resolute as that number suggested. He had bogeyed the first but that had been a rare misstep.

With two holes remaining, he was one under the card for the day on an afternoon when the wind whipped up a little and Royal Liverpool was able to show at least some of its teeth.

Hole 17 was, it turned out, a trial. A tee shot that flew over the green landed in the sandy waste beyond and from there it took two attempts to find the putting surface.

Two putts later and he had some real damage to record on his card for the first time.

His tee shot down 18 was subsequently one struck by a tired golfer. He admitted afterwards these have been two emotionally draining days.

Tugged miles left, Jordan feared it lost and played another ball. Catastrophe beckoned only for ball one to be located barely 150 yards from the tee, having crashed into the spectator railings and cannoned back into the fairway.

Despite that he said 'the support has been great' and has been engaging with many on the other side of the ropes, including some close friends and family members

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Despite that he said ‘the support has been great’ and has been engaging with many on the other side of the ropes, including some close friends and family members

‘I have played my second shot from that far back before but not for many years and not for that reason,’ Jordan laughed afterwards.

From there, Jordan was to reach the green with two more blows and after a birdie putt slipped by, looked up at the giant scoreboard to see his name with a red number next to it. ‘I think I’m just trying to calm myself down,’ said Jordan, minutes after signing his card.

‘It was a rollercoaster. At 17 well, you know, it happens. It’s hard. We got it wrong. That’s golf. And then there was what happened at 18 and the reception I got. So I think I have had quite a few emotions in a short space of time.

‘But it is still brilliant. I just want to keep it going.’

When Jordan was six or seven, he would regularly take on Hoylake’s best club golfers at pitching and putting. Usually, he would win. On Friday, he needed a little bit of all that and on the whole it came through for him. Seven times he got up and down for par on an afternoon that saw him miss more greens than he would have liked.

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The highlights arguably came on the 12th when, having cursed himself for finding a bunker from the tee, he splashed out sideways, pitched to 15 feet from 120 yards and holed the putt for a par.

That led to the first fist pump of the day and the birdie that followed at the par-three 13th was rapturously received.

‘The support has been great,’ reflected Jordan.

‘If I start reacting to them and start acting up a bit then of course that’s when I could probably lose concentration.

Jordan is now in the prime position to mount an attack on the top of the leaderboard, sitting in T11 heading into moving day

Jordan is now in the prime position to mount an attack on the top of the leaderboard, sitting in T11 heading into moving day 

‘But even when you’ve made a mistake you just want to keep going and keep lifting them up.’

With rain due to change the complexion of this tournament over the next couple of days, Jordan may yet have more to contribute. Having played here so many hundreds of times before, it is unlikely to faze him.

His impact has already been made, however, and if context sometimes helps to frame an achievement then here it is.

As he left the 18th green, the scores of the trio playing behind were placed on the board. At that point, they were a combined total of 39 over par.

new balance



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