Merseyside has been home to its fair share of sporting drama. And this week will be no exception.
The eyes of the golfing world turn to Hoylake where anticipation is building for the 151st Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.
Southport’s Tommy Fleetwood is among those believed to have a chance of claiming the famous Claret Jug, a cheque for $3million and a taste of golfing immortality come Sunday evening.
And the 32-year-old is set to receive fierce backing from the home fans. Victory at Hoylake would fulfil a lifelong ambition.
He said today: “Winning the Open is a huge, huge dream.
“No matter where it is, that’s something that I’ve always visualised and always thought about.
“Having the opportunity to do it so close to where you grew up is something that’s very unique and very special.”
Fleetwood has established himself as one of the biggest names in European golf, with six top 10 major finishes and two appearances in the Ryder Cup.
Despite his success, the world number 21 fondly remembers his earliest experiences playing Royal Liverpool.
He said: “One of my closest friends was a member here as a junior.
“Coming here to play – similar to being able to play Birkdale or any of the other courses – it’s hallowed turf, if you like.
“I think just getting the opportunity to be around the club, play on the course, it’s very, very cool for a junior golfer to get on somewhere like this.”
Another player attracting a great deal of local interest is Matthew Jordan.
The 27-year-old is playing on his home course after finishing second in final qualification for the tournament.
As Hoylake’s club professional, he will know the intricacies of these famous links better than anyone in the field.
Jordan has been given the honour of starting the tournament on Thursday morning.
He will be the first player to tee off at 6.35am.
He has crossed paths with Fleetwood before, with the more experienced player happy to offer some advice.
Fleetwood added: “For Matt – who’s a great player – I actually played with him when he was 16 around here.
“I remember coming off and saying ‘this kid’s really, really good,’ and I think he will continue to grow.
“Enjoy it and make sure you play your own game, and have faith in yourself.”
— MerseySportLive (@merseysportlive) July 19, 2023
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy will tee off as favourite following his dramatic 72nd hole victory at last week’s Scottish Open.
As always, there is a strong American contingent, with world number 1 Scottie Scheffler and PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka expected to contend.
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(Featured image courtesy of R&A)