JORDAN Smith admits that even he has been taken aback by his rapid rise to the upper echelons of golf.

Fresh off his first European Tour win, which was followed by a maiden appearance at a major, finishing an impressive tied ninth at the US PGA Championship, the 24-year-old has been thrust into the limelight.

Smith was a late bloomer in golf, the Derry Hill player not picking up the clubs until the age of 12. However, it took just nine years for him to represent Europe in the 2014 Walker Cup before turning pro the same year.

Just two years ago, Smith was plying his trade on the third tier EuroPro Tour but having topped the order of merit there, he was again rising to the top a year later when he won the order of merit of the Challenge Tour to secure his his place on the European Tour.

Those two years saw the Bowood pro soar in self-confidence and he has taken that bullish approach to life on the biggest stage but says that despite the meteoric rise, he still has the same mindset that he had when playing on the Challenge Tour.

“I never anticipated my rise to be this quick,” he told the Gazette. “I did have confidence that it would happen eventually, just not as quickly as it has happened.

“I still have to pinch myself to realise what is happening but I just have to enjoy the journey I’m on.”

Smith is not content with making do with what he has achieved in the last two weeks, however.

Having seen his world ranking climb to 69th and his position on the Race to Dubai move up to 16th courtesy of his heroics at Quail Hollow, which earned him an invited back next year, Smith is eyeing a place in the world’s top 50 to ensure he is dining at golf’s top table next year.

“I want to try and get into that top 50 now and once you get in there, you get to play in any tournament you like, all around the world,” he added.

“That gets you into the Masters as well, so that is the next goal.”

Smith returns to the course next week at the Czech Masters having recharged his batteries at home and is determined to end an already unforgettable season in style.

He said: “It’s nice being home and seeing all of the family and getting the chance to chill.”