Matthew Southgate felt his local knowledge helped after making an impressive start to the Open at Carnoustie.

The Southend 28-year-old shot a two-under-par 69 in the opening round on the Angus links, where he has been playing since a child.

Southgate remains a member at Thorpe Hall but his father was a member at Carnoustie and bought him his own membership as a 16th birthday present.

And Southgate, whose round included eagles on the sixth and 14th, felt that played a part in his fine first round.

“I don’t think you can ever know a golf course too well but I think it helps when you know, if you miss a green, exactly what you’re faced with next,” said Southgate.

“I think that’s kind of settling - you walk another 100 yards knowing what’s coming up next.”

But having long dreamt of playing in an Open at Carnoustie, Southgate did admit that some aspects of the day took him by surprise.

“When I first arrived I was a little disappointed,” said Southgate.

“I think I built it up too much in my mind from the age of 10.

“A couple of things that you saw play through in your imagination - it unsettles me when things don’t quite go that way.

“For one thing, I always had this vision the little old Scottish fellow would meet me at the front door and call me ‘Mr. Southgate’, and I would feel all excited and stuff.

“It wasn’t. It was a young American girl and a sort of flashy, ‘Let me show you around’.

“I thought, ‘I don’t really need showing round. I’ve been a member since I was 16’.

“It kind of threw me a little bit but once I went in the clubhouse and met a couple of members, I settled down.

“And even more so when I got on the golf course, and the first round has lived up to everything.”

Southgate feels he has given himself a good platform for the rest of the week.

“We sort of sprung to life with an eagle on the sixth and started playing really nice stuff after that,” said Southgate.

“I enjoyed the rest of the day with my family and I’ll come out look to do the same sort of thing on Friday."