British Masters: Tough day for Indians; invitee Jordan leads with 63
The three Indians on show at the British Masters -- Shubhankar Sharma, Gaganjeet Bhullar and SSP Chawrasia -- literally ran into rough weather with disappointing cards, even as a 23-year-old invitee, Matthew Jordan shot a stunning bogeyfree 63 to open up a two-shot lead on the opening day on Thursday.
Tournament host Tommy Fleetwood, who won the pre-event Hero Challenge, also got off to a fine start with a 68, but was still five behind young Jordan, who is a member of nearby Links course, Royal Hoylake.
Between Jordan and Fleetwood, there was a bunch of players. Swede Marcus Kinhult, another good Links-playing youngster, shot 65 and three players, including the battle-scarred 46-year-old veteran Lee Westwood were at six-under each. Westwood had six more holes to play.
Chawrasia, playing in the first group on a cold, windy and wet day, wore three layers and had an umbrella open for 16 holes. His sole birdie was on the second, the 11th of the course, and he gave away five bogeys in the next seven. He parred his second nine but ended at 76.
Bhullar had three birdies on second, third and seventh, but bogeys on first, eighth, 12th and 13th pegged him to one-over before a birdie on 15th helped him return to even.
Sharma opened with five pars followed by a birdie before dropping two shots in three holes on seventh and ninth to turn in one-over.
Jordan, who had his first Top-10 finish as a pro two weeks ago in Turkey in the Challenge, has played well at Links courses like the Lytham and St Andrews, where he has amateur wins. Jordan started birdie-birdie and had five in first eight and then there were more on 10th, 11th, 13th and 15th, at which point he was nine-under with three to go. Just as a 60 appeared on the horizon birdies dried up.
Fleetwood played and won the Hero Challenge and then launched his Academy. Next week, he is also due to play the PGA at Bethpage as he searches for his maiden Major. On Thursday, he had an eagle on second, his 11th. He had three other birdies and one bogey on sixth.
Kinhult shot seven-under 65 with eight birdies and one bogey, while Richie Ramsay and Thomas Detry finished six-under 66. Jack Singh Brar and Sean Crocker finished at 67 each.