SOUTHPORT, England – Matthew Jordan made the most of his late invitation to the British Masters by shooting 9-under 63 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round.
Playing just his 12th event as a professional, the 23-year-old Jordan defied wet and chilly conditions at Hillside in northwest England to make nine birdies in a bogey-free round.
Matt Wallace and Marcus Kinhult were tied for second place.
Jordan turned professional in September 2018 after a stellar amateur career which saw him reach fifth in the world rankings. He is from nearby Hoylake, a seaside town which is one of the British Open hosts.
''I've known him for a long time, we all know what he's capable of,'' said Tommy Fleetwood, who was five shots off the lead after an opening 68.
Jordan's best result to date is a tie for seventh in a Challenge Tour event in Turkey two weeks ago when he carded a second-round 62. His career earnings of 57,000 pounds ($74,000) are dwarfed by the first prize of 500,000 pounds ($650,000) on offer this week.
Jordan is currently relying on invitations after failing to advance beyond the second stage of the qualifying school but Fleetwood, who is hosting this British Masters, 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 said. ''We played a couple of times at Hoylake and he's a really, really nice guy. I got the invitation on Sunday and I'm very thankful to have the opportunity.''
Lee Westwood birdied six of his first seven holes before having to settle for a 66 and a tie for fourth place with Richie Ramsay, Robert Karlsson and Thomas Detry.