Marc Warren looked at the leaderboard to “soak up the moment” when he was sharing top spot at one stage in the second round of the 144th Open.
But he will have his game face on when he looks to check the scores as the event reaches its conclusion at St Andrews over the weekend.
The 34-year-old Scot only made his debut in the world’s oldest major at Muirfield two years ago, when he missed the cut. But, building on an encouraging performance at Hoylake 12 months ago, he’s in the mix heading into the final two rounds in Fife.
“A couple of times today I allowed myself to look up at the leaderboard when I shared the lead with a couple of guys,” said Warren of getting to seven-under after ten holes.
“I was just trying to soak up that moment as it doesn’t happen every day. I just tried to enjoy seeing my name there.
“Hopefully my name will be in a similar position tomorrow and Sunday but I will be looking at the leaderboard to see who’s on it, not just enjoy it.”
Warren’s game has grown in stature since he won his European Tour card back after having to rely on invitations in 2011. One of them was for the Dunhill Links and he’s never really looked back since finishing fifth in that event here at St Andrews.
He claimed his third European Tour title with victory in the Made in Denmark last August and came into this event as the new Scottish No. 1 after leapfrogging Stephen Gallacher.
“I’m getting more used to playing in tournaments like this,” he admitted after backing up an opening 68 with an equally impressive 69 for a seven-under-par halfway total.
“Last month’s US Open was good as I got my name up there in the first couple of rounds and overall had a really good week.
“I also had a good finish in the Scottish Open at Gullane last weekend and feel as I’m pretty close to the top 50 in the world.”
He’s actually 56th and a good finish here could see that target achieved heading into the start of the 2016 Ryder Cup qualifying next month.
“My game is in really good shape,” said Warren, who has matured enormously since first getting married – his wife, Laura, hails from Edinburgh – and then becoming a father to their son, Archie.
“Obviously I’m not experienced in this situation (in a major). I’ve won tournaments, but not at this level.
“However, I feel okay on links courses in particular and having been brave enough to commit to my targets and hit the shots I had to when I was playing for my job and my livelihood in the Dunhill Links four years ago, then I don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to that this weekend.”
Warren said he’d been handed a break when play was suspended due to flooding before his scheduled second-round tee time.
“That definitely worked in our favour as it was going to be a tough morning in those conditions,” he admitted.
“When we did get out the crowds were incredible. Every hole seemed to be lined and I had a lot of great support out there.
Richie Ramsay, who is based in Morningside, looked set to make the cut after a birdie at the last for a 71 put him just inside the projected cut-off line at one-under.
“I played some really good stuff, giving myself a lot of chances,” said the three-times European Tour winner.
“I’m disappointed I didn’t make getting into the weekend clear cut because I’m driving it really well. But, if I get a second chance of going out and posting a good score over the weekend, then I don’t plan to miss that opportunity again.”
Stephen Gallacher was set to make his first early exit from the event in three years after a second successive 73 left him on two-over.
“I feel as though I’ve played great the last two weeks but got nothing out of it,” said the Lothians star, having also made an early exit from the Scottish Open.
“The stats are telling me that my putting is the problem so I’ll probably go over a few days early to the US next month to see Dave Stockton.”