By Richard Williamson
AFTER the euphoria of a record-breaking first day at the British Masters, it would have been all too easy for Matthew Jordan to slip back into the golfing shadows.
His 63 round the Hillside links propelled him to the top of the leaderboard for one of the European Tour’s flagship events – and initiated a whirlwind of media and TV interviews.
By the end of the week, the media scrum had faded away as the story became winner Marcus Kinhult. But Jordan continued to acquit himself with aplomb, eventually finishing in 15th to serve notice of his potential for the future.
It was the kind of week that could have defined his season, but instead the Royal Liverpool golfer has backed up his attention-grabbing Hillside heroics with less heralded – but all the more important – success on the second tier European Challenge Tour.
At the Italian Challenge Open Eneos Motor Oil Jordan claimed his maiden title – and with it a healthy boost to his rankings that give him a chance of finishing in the top 15 at the end of the season to claim a full-time place on the main European Tour.
And the 23-year-old admits that while the British Masters was a fantastic experience, it is delivering week-in, week-out in the cut-throat battle to take the step up to golf’s top table that will be more influential on his long-term ambitions.
Jordan – who lives just a few roads from the Royal Liverpool course in Hoylake – believes it has been important to take some element of insight from each of his journey’s phases.
“As a player you go from 18 or 36 hole club competitions to playing four-round tournaments. It becomes about learning how to make the cut, and then about learning how to go on afterwards in the final two rounds. At first it is just enough to make the cut, but then it is about as finishing as high as you can. Then about being in contention, then about going on to win. It is a case of experiencing it all, learning and progressing.
“In four rounds you are not going to play well all the time, so it is learning how to deal with that bad stretch. You don’t want one bad shot to end up as a run of dropped shots, for example. You can’t play 72 holes perfectly so sometimes you have to grind it out.
“You are always looking at ways of learning about your game; competition is great for seeing where you need to improve, whether it’s that your pitching isn’t good enough or you need to drive well more consistently.”
The Masters experience at least gave Jordan an insight into the world he is aiming to inhabit in the future, but he rates his performance at the Turkish Airlines Open in Turkey the previous week – which included a second-round 62 and a seventh-placed finish – as equally relevant to the rapid progress he is making.
“I was in contention and that gave me more confidence that I could compete at this level. In the same way as my performance at the Lytham Trophy gave me confidence as an amateur, this felt like another step up.”
Consistency started to be a watchword for Jordan as he reeled off three top 20 finishes in four starts before his breakthrough success.
The victory in Italy capped off a profitable few weeks for Jordan, not just in terms of the money garnered but the experience and belief that comes with it. He has repeated his feat of three top 20 finishes in his last four events to move ever closer to fulfilling his ultimate ambition.
“Italy was especially important as it carried a higher purse than normal, so the 48,000 for winning helped me enormously. Now I am in contention for a top 15 place in the rankings with the rewards that brings.
“But in terms of thinking about trying to get my main Tour card, that result in Turkey was the important one. I had free rein at the Masters, nothing to lose, but that result in Turkey set me up for a good week and I am pleased that I have gone on from there.
“Now I just want to play as well as possible in every event and see where that takes me to in the rankings.”