Andrea Pavan took advantage of serene conditions as he moved joint top of the leaderboard at the Dunhill Links Championship yesterday.
The testing winds of the opening round were nowhere to be seen yesterday and Pavan made the most of the favourable weather as he recorded an excellent nine-under-par 63 at Kingsbarns to move to the top of the leaderboard on nine under alongside Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard who shot 65 at the same course.
Pavan was delighted with his round but is not getting carried away as he prepares for his third round at Carnoustie today.
He said: “It’s great to start playing well like this, and give myself chances. All I can do is keep plugging along and playing well.
“Right now, the focus is just to get out there tomorrow and just play each shot and to have a good game plan and then we’ll see.
“All you can do is try to play well and be within having a chance on Sunday afternoon.”
While delighted with his display Dane Bjerregaard knows the toughest test awaits as he joins Pavan in heading to Carnoustie today.
He said: “Yesterday was managing your way round but you could attack more today.
“Carnoustie tomorrow, I’m not sure If I ‘m looking forward to it. Hopefully the weather will be like today, not too much wind. So far it’s been a great week on great golf courses.
“It would mean a lot to win here but there’s a lot of golf to be played before that. It’s one of the most prestigious events we have. But I’ve got to get past Carnoustie and St Andrews again first.”
Bjerregaard and Pavan lead by one shot with several players in hot pursuit including champion Tyrrell Hatton who is bidding to become the first man to win a regular European Tour event for the third year in a row since Ernie Els achieved the feat at the Heineken Classic from 2002-04.
Ryder Cup rookie Hatton, whose six under 66 at Carnoustie moved him to eight under alongside Matthias Schwab and Marcus Fraser, said: “It seems I either miss the cut in this event or win it.
“The first two years playing here were difficult but we’re all trying to play well every week. Some weeks you have it, others you don’t.
“Obviously I’ve got good memories coming back here and I’ve got confidence because I played lovely last week, in such a massive event
“So my swing is in a good place. It was just a case of taking it on to the golf course.
‘It’s been a good couple of days. There are still two to come and I’m looking forward to playing St Andrews tomorrow and hopefully it’s another calm day.”
England’s Ashley Chesters, who is two shots off the lead following his 64 at Kingsbarns, is also bracing himself for a trip to Carnoustie today.
He said: “Kingsbarns is probably the one I’ve played the least but I’ve played Carnoustie a lot as an amateur and I quite like it.
“You have to avoid the bunkers off the tee. If it’s as windy as it was yesterday, it will be difficult, and the greens are lovely there in the practice round, so hopefully I can keep putting the way I putted today and see where that puts me.”
Mikko Ilonen is also seven under following a 63 at St Andrews.
He said: “I’ve played here so many times. In the 1990s I played here as an amateur and I always found it really frustrating if you don’t get it going, and today, I felt like with that start (seven under through nine), I really need to keep this going. I’m really happy that I was able to do it.”
In the team event, Nacho Elvira and former South African karting champion John Van Wyk have a four-shot lead at 20 under thanks to their round of 60 at St Andrews.