Jordan Smith bubbling along nicely at Irish Open after impromptu break

The Englishman shot a five-under par 65 to sit alongside Dean Burmester at the top of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Galgorm Castle on Thursday afternoon.
Jordan Smith bubbling along nicely at Irish Open after impromptu break

Jordan Smith on the 18th green. The Englishman is co-leader at the Irish Open. Picture:  INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Jordan Smith is far happier inside golf's 'bubble' now than he was three weeks go.

The Englishman shot a five-under par 65 to sit alongside Dean Burmester at the top of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Galgorm Castle on Thursday afternoon.

That's a far cry from the score he was posting when he retired from the Andalucia Masters at the start of the month.

The man from Bath was eleven-over through his first 14 holes at Valderrama when he decided enough was enough and withdrew. A tweet the next day explained that he was mentally burnt out after seven straight weeks in the European Tour's protective bubble.

The tour's strictures since the pandemic and restart restrict players and caddies to the course and their hotel for the duration of each tournament but the man from Bath returned to action the next week at the Portugal Masters where he finished tied for 36th.

“It was a long eight weeks,” he explained after his round in Co Antrim.

“I should have probably broken it up and it just got me a little bit. There wasn't any other reason for it.

I just didn't want to play golf at that point so last week did absolutely nothing, put the clubs away for a little bit, chilled and now we're back on track.

He sure is.

A blemish-free first round produced 13 pars and five birdies on a course that, by the time he finished up, had less players under par than the US Open after the first round at Winged Foot last week.

“It was good fun. It was Baltic this morning. I just hit lots of good iron shots and if I did miss a green it was always in the easiest spot. I am happy, I would say. I need to go work on my driving a little bit and holing out but apart from that very, very happy.”

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