The 23-year-old Englishman, who lives in nearby Hoylake, only got into the tournament on Sunday and is making just his ninth appearance on the European Tour, but he showed few nerves in a bogey-free nine under par round.
Jordan turned professional last September after a fine amateur career that included a Walker Cup appearance in 2017 and a nine-stroke victory in the Lytham Trophy last year. His love of links golf was again evident with third birdies in his opening four holes, followed by further gains on the sixth and ninth for a front nine of 31, before four more birdies in six holes after the turn.
He is two shots clear of fellow Englishman Matt Wallace, the four-time European Tour winner, and Sweden’s Marcus Kinhult, while former World Number One Lee Westwood made a scintillating start to his round with six birdies in his opening seven holes. The 2007 British Masters champion, who hosted the event at Close House in 2017, is in a four-way share of fourth place on six under par.
This year’s host, Tommy Fleetwood, has taken the tournament back to the coastal town of Southport where he grew up, and the Ryder Cup star gave the home fans plenty to cheer about with an eagle on the second hole – his 11th after starting from the tenth tee – in a four under par 68 to lie in tenth position.