Sheffield golfer Danny Willett says it is ‘cool’ to be the clubhouse leader at The Open after a superb second round at St Andrews.
Willett sits at -9 after two rounds, closing his day with a two shot lead over the field at the home of golf.
And he says being in the position is a dream, even if he is refusing to get carried away just yet.
“You can’t really put something like this out of your mind – it’s really cool to be leading The Open,” Willett said.
“It’s what you dream of doing. I’ve grown up watching this golf event and for us Brits especially, it’s THE Major.
“And here at the home of golf it’s even more special.
“We made birdie and got into tied for the lead and John (Smart, caddy) said you might as well enjoy the next hole because you’re leading The Open.”
Willett - originally due out at 8.20am – was unfazed by a three hour delay caused by flooding from torrential rains and mastered rather tame conditions to move into the outright lead.
Worksop’s Lee Westwood – sitting -1 – is not due to start his second round until 5.26pm and could be forced to finish on Saturday morning.
The 27-year-old was joined on eight under when Zach Johnson also picked up shots on the fifth and sixth, but after Willett holed from 25 feet for birdie on the ninth and just five feet on the 10th, Johnson three-putted the 11th and dropped another shot on the 12th.
As the wind strengthened, that gave Willett a three-shot lead over Dustin Johnson, who was now not due out until 5:48pm alongside Masters and US Open champion Jordan Spieth due to the earlier delay.
Willett made his first mistake of the day by three-putting from just off the 15th green and his lead was down to two when Scotland’s Marc Warren, who carded a closing 64 in the Scottish Open on Sunday, birdied the 18th to complete an excellent 69.
Rotherham GC member Willett dropped another shot on the 17th to reduce his lead down to one.
But he shot a birdie three on the last to finish -9 after two rounds, a two-shot lead at the time.
With the last group scheduled to tee off at 7:27pm, many players will have to return on Saturday to complete their second rounds.
But R&A chief executive Peter Dawson insisted that significant changes would not be made to the order of play, unlike last year at Royal Liverpool when a two-tee start was used for the first time in Open history due to a bad weather forecast for Saturday’s third round.
“[We’ve] only done it once at Hoylake,” Dawson told the BBC. “The prospect of changing it during competition and doing a two-tee start is not something we are going to do. The order you play the holes in on a links course is very important.
“The forecast is for very strong winds so it is a very tough course today and tomorrow, but because we have had so much rain it’s nowhere near as fiery as it can be so I’m very hopeful that (wind) won’t affect play.
“Our target is to finish on Sunday. We do have the ability to go into Monday (the last time that happened was at Lytham in 1988), but we certainly hope not to.”