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Royal Liverpool member Matthew Jordan had a nervy start to the 151st Open but managed to avoid an early mishap as play got under way at Hoylake in cloudy but calm conditions.
The DP World Tour professional, playing in his second championship, was given the honour of hitting the first shot at 6.35am and was welcomed onto the first tee by an appreciative crowd, many of whom were family, friends and fellow patrons of the club.
And although he pulled his drive into the left rough of the 444-yard hole – which he has always played as the 17th but is changed this week for an improved tournament layout – he was loudly cheered by the packed grandstand and departed the tee waving to spectators.
Having then hit into a greenside bunker, he splashed out to 12 feet and holed a par putt.
With his nerves settled, Jordan played the second hole much better, finding the fairway, hitting his approach to 17ft and holing to loud cheers as he took the early lead with the tournament’s first birdie of the day.
Big names going out in the morning included defending champion Cameron Smith alongside Xander Schauffele and US Open winner Wyndham Clark, one group behind world number one Scottie Scheffler, home hope Tommy Fleetwood and Australian Adam Scott.
Tournament favourite Rory McIlroy, straight off the back of Sunday’s Scottish Open win, was due out at 2.59pm with Masters champion and world number three Jon Rahm and England’s Justin Rose in the marquee group of the afternoon.
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