A TOP 10 finish, the highest ranked British player, the second-highest European player – it’s fair to say that Jordan Smith’s first appearance at a Major will be one he will never forget and certainly won’t be his last.

The Derry Hill golfer was a late addition to the start list of the US PGA Championship at Quail Hollow, having only won his first event on the European Tour less than two weeks previously, lifting the Porsche European Tour in Germany.

However, despite admitting to some pre-tournament nerves before jetting off to North Carolina, it was a familiar face that got him into the swing of things and made him feel at home among some esteemed company.

“It was a pretty unforgettable week to be honest,” he told the Gazette and Herald.

“It started off nicely with playing a practice round with Rory (McIlroy) and it gradually got better and better.

“He is one of the best in the world so it’s always nice to play a practice round with him and see how he approaches the course.

“We just had a good laugh and it calmed me down going into the rest of the week.”

As Smith took to the first tee of a Major for the first time on Thursday afternoon, the 24-year-old said he got some clarity while waiting to take his first shot after what had been a whirlwind two weeks.

While, his first round didn’t get off to the start he wanted, recording a double bogey on the difficult par-four first, he recovered well and three consecutive birdies on the front nine, followed by two birdies on the back had him one under par after day one and even a four-over-par 75 on day two couldn’t prevent him making the cut.

“I was actually a lot less nervous than I thought I was going to be,” he added.

“It was nice to hear my name being announced, it definitely sunk in at that moment that I was there that week and also the win in Germany hit home a little bit.

“I didn’t get off to the best start but I knew that first hole was going to be tough and there were going to be a lot of bogeys and doubles. So I knew I had only dropped one shot on most of the field and there were plenty of opportunities to claw it back and kept going.

“To get under par on the first day put me at ease and set me up for the rest of the week.”

By the time Saturday came around, Smith was enjoying his golf and after another round of 70, the Bowood pro was keen to see just what he could achieve on the final day, not disappointing as he carded his best round of the day with a three-under-par 68.

“I had a pretty good Saturday and realised that if I got top 15, I would get an invite back next year so that was at the back of my mind,” added Smith, who saw himself rise to joint ninth overall whilst sat in the clubhouse.

“I think Sunday was one of the best rounds of my career.

“It was a bit of a shame about the bogey on 18 but when I got back in the clubhouse I realised I could potentially be the top Brit and that worked out and then to be second out of all the European guys as well was amazing.”

Smith will now enjoy two weeks at home in Wiltshire before returning for the D+D REAL Czech Masters and is seemingly taking being thrust into the higher echelons of world golf firmly in his stride.

“I’m feeling really good,” he said.

“I’ve got two weeks off now to chill and recharge the batteries and then I’ve got quite a busy last run to the end of the year.

“The last four tournaments I have got are big so it’s just a case of keep doing what I am doing, keep plodding along and keep in that top 30 in the Race to Dubai to set up a really nice year next year.”