A MAGNIFICENT chip-in for eagle at the final hole saw Wiltshire golfer Jordan Smith rescue a level par opening round on his debut at the BMW PGA Championship this afternoon.

Derry Hill’s Smith is enjoying a fine first season on the European Tour, having won the secondary Challenge Tour’s Order of Merit in 2016, and continued his strong run of form at Wentworth.

Smith initially appeared uneasy over the opening nine holes of the Tour’s flagship event, falling to three-over par at the turn. However, he clicked into gear on the march back home.

The Bowood pro’s resurgence was capped by a stunning end to his round, with a delightful chip from off the green at the 18th rolling perfectly into the cup for eagle to see him finish with a 72 for even par.

“It was a battle out there. It was quite tough, the wind was getting up in the afternoon but it was a lovely way to finish,” said Smith.

“I was pretty nervous for the first couple of holes and was probably quite tense on the front nine but then I made a couple of birdies and started to enjoy it.

“After the front nine, I would have taken level par overall. I hit a lot of good shots, I just hit a few bad ones too and didn’t hit as many greens as I would have liked.

“Overall, I really enjoyed it. I had a lot of support out there and have got even more tomorrow, so it should be quite loud and rowdy, which will be nice.”

Smith will be in the fourth group out in tomorrow’s second round, teeing off at 7.30am, and the youngster is hoping for an even better score to haul himself up the leaderboard and bolster his chances of making the cut.

He added: “We are off early tomorrow morning so we will get the fresh greens and there won’t be a lot of wind, so it will be nice to get out there and try to post a good score.”