What’s that smell in the air? Why, it’s the whiff of a 59. When Matthew Jordan raced to the turn at the Old Course in 29, and Justin Rose bludgeoned the front nine at Kingsbarns with 28 blows, the chatter about the possibility of a rare sub-60 round grew in volume on day two of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

The golfing gods, of course, don’t dish out 59s in carefree abundance. Jordan managed just one more birdie in what was a fine eight-under 64 as he assumed top spot on 14-under while Rose’s charge was tempered by a double-bogey on the 11th in a 64 of his own which left him lurking just two off the lead.


Jordan, who is fifth on the Challenge Tour rankings and playing on an invitation his week, is very much at home in the home of golf.

The Hoylake man, whose grandfather is an R&A member, won the St Andrews Links Trophy here as an amateur in 2017 and an eagle and a five birdies on his first eight holes underlined his fondness for this neck of the woods.

“I absolutely love this place,” said the 23-year-old. “It (a 59) did cross my mind. I had friends here and they were telling me they wanted the same on the back nine. But I knew the rain was coming in and that made it tougher. I’ll take 64, though.”

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With very little wind and generous pin positions to accommodate the amateur aspect of the championship, the courses were vulnerable to a sustained bombardment.

Rose certainly went on the offensive and blasted six birdies and an eagle in a rousing outward half at Kingsbarns but he missed the green left on the 11th and paid a hefty price. “I knew left was no good,” said the world No 4 who sits in a share of fifth.

Sweden’s Joakim Lagergren joined the birdie blitz with a 62 at Kingbarns to sit in joint second while Rory McIlroy also burst out of the blocks at Kingsbarns and was five-under through five.

The Northern Irishman made just one more gain, though, en route to a tidy 66 which left him handily placed on eight-under at halfway.