Scotland’s Marc Warren admits he could not help but enjoy his brief spell at the top of the Open leaderboard – especially after previous mixed experiences at St Andrews.
The 34-year-old shot a second-round 69 for a seven-under total, considerably better than the “92 or 94” he carded on the adjacent New Course during a St Andrews Links Trophy on his first visit.
For a short period he shared the lead with Sheffield’s Danny Willett, Zach Johnson and Dustin Johnson, the latter the only one of the quartet not to be out on the course at the time.
Even though he could not hang on to that position he was more than happy with his day.
“A couple of times I allowed myself to look at the leaderboard when I joined the lead with a couple other guys just trying to soak up that moment,” he said.
“It doesn’t happen every day so I just tried to enjoy my name being there, but I was trying to fight the weather and make sure I was concentrating and focused on the next shot.
“I let myself do that because that was the first time I’ve been in that situation.
“If it’s [today] and Sunday hopefully my name is in a pretty similar position, but I’ll be looking at the leaderboard to see who’s on it – I won’t be looking at it to enjoy it.”
Warren’s first experience of St Andrews was weather-affected to such an extent he almost quit after his first hole.
“I shot 92 or 94 on the New Course and the weather was just ridiculous,” he said.
“We should never have played, but some of the Scottish Golf Union officials were sitting there having a drink in the clubhouse and saying it was just a breeze.
“I took an 11 on the first and I could have walked in.”
Since then St Andrews has given him better memories, particularly when, playing on a sponsor’s invite, he finished joint-fifth in the 2011 Alfred Dunhill Links to help him regain his European Tour card the previous year.
But day two of the 144th Open Championship has provided the best moments so far, although he hopes there are more to come over the weekend.
“You know, it’s a totally different side of the game than trying to win a golf tournament,” said the world No 56 of his battles to regain Tour status.
“You’re literally playing for your job and your livelihood.
“I was brave enough to commit to my targets and hit the shots I had to then so I don’t see why I’m not able to do that this weekend.
“I am more and more used to playing tournaments like this and (last month’s) US Open was good.
“I got my name up there at Chambers Bay early on the first couple rounds and overall had a really good week there (finishing tied for 27th) and a good week last week (joint fourth at the Scottish Open).
“I feel as if I’m pretty close to top 50 in the world. This is my second major of the year, but I do feel comfortable.
“Obviously I’m not experienced in this situation, although I’ve won tournaments.
“I would say it’s probably better to come from behind but either way I’d be quite happy.”