MATT Southgate will be bidding to blow away his rivals when he tees off at the Open today.

The 28-year-old, from Southend, reached Royal Birkdale after winning the qualifier in Kent.

And his father Ian - who is already in Southport - is hoping the conditions will suit his son’s style of play.

“We’re hoping for wind as that would definitely suit Matt,” said Southgate.

“A lot of the players don’t enjoy playing on a links course when it’s windy but that’s not the case with Matt so we’re all hoping that’s what happens.”

Southgate played nine holes yesterday morning with his dad by side.

And Ian cannot wait for the prestigious event to get underway.

“We’re all proud with a capital p of what Matt has achieved,” said Southgate.

“There are plenty of people here from Essex already and his mum and sister will be coming up too.

“We’re looking forward to it and I don’t get nervous about it anymore if I’m honest.

“I did used to when things maybe weren’t going very well but he has such a good temperament now.

“If he makes a mistake then it’s forgotten about by the time he’s over his next shot.

“His game is more mature now and that’s shown by how he has risen up the world rankings.”

Southgate is a member of Thorpe Hall Golf Club and the club’s general manager Iain Evans is keen to see him shine in the Open.

“All the members will be keeping an eye on his progress and I am sure he will be looking to continue his good recent form,” he said.

“We will have the golf on the big screen in the bar for the final round and we hope Matt will feature, of course.

“Matt is very well liked at the club and is a very homely person.”