Ireland’s Paul Dunne described the British Open as like a “zoo” after blazing a trail for the amateurs with a second successive round of 69 to put himself in contention on Friday.
The 22-year-old’s 138 total for 36 holes equalled the record of England’s Justin Rose at Royal Birkdale in 1998 and South Korea’s Jin Jeong at St Andrews in 2010.
It also put him on the first page of the leaderboard, rubbing shoulders with the likes of 2010 champion Louis Oosthuizen and former Masters winner Zach Johnson.
“In terms of why amateurs are doing well, I’d say if you put an amateur tournament on around here, people will be shooting scores to be up there on the leaderboard,” Dunne told reporters.
“Maybe not up at the top, but certainly around top 20. But it’s just hard when the atmosphere is like this. It’s kind of like a zoo out there.
“Amateurs are well capable of shooting the scores needed to do well, it’s just about controlling your emotions when you’re out there, not letting it get to you.”
Dunne made just one bogey in a measured round containing four birdies and at six under is now favourite for the silver medal awarded to the best amateur, although American Jordan Niebrugge also impressed again with a 73 to lie four under.
“That would be brilliant,” Dunne, who studies at the University of Alabama, said.
“It would be nice to get the silver medal, my last year as an amateur. It would be something I would remember forever.”
“But there’s a lot of golf and a lot of bad weather to play in before that.”