Former champion Zach Johnson is confident his game can hold up to the challenge of another Open Championship bid even if no-one seemed to give him a chance going into Carnoustie.
The 42-year-old has never led a major after 36 holes despite winning the 2007 Masters and the Claret Jug at St Andrews in 2015.
Asked whether he was coming in under the radar the American said: “I don’t know who is managing the radar. It is irrelevant to me.
“If you are going to base it on world ranking sure, that’s fine but I’ve seen the trajectory of my game: I trust my driver, I trust my irons, I trust my putter.”
Johnson started the day two under and dropped a shot at the first but then remained bogey-free with his fifth birdie of the day coming courtesy of a 25-foot putt at the last.
That took him into the outright lead ahead of Tommy Fleetwood, who shot a best-of-the-week 65 which was bogey free, first-round leader Kevin Kisner and South African debutant Erik van Rooyen – both of whom were afternoon starters.
Fleetwood holds the course record at Carnoustie – 63 – and after a runner-up finish at last month’s US Open leapt into contention on the second day.
“It’s no course record, but it will do for today. It was a spirited effort today,” said the Southport golfer.
“It was a very strong round of golf, and I hit a lot of good golf shots.
“If I could pick one tournament in my life to win, it would be the Open. I’ve never been anywhere near before. So far for two rounds, I’m up there on the leaderboard.”
Three-time major winner Rory McIlroy is a shot further back after a second successive round of 69.
On a sunny Thursday the 2014 Open champion attacked the course with driver on almost every hole possible.
When he arrived for the second round to be greeted by constant rain he changed that philosophy.
“Jeez, under those conditions, I would have taken that score today going out,” said the Northern Irishman.
Tiger Woods had a mixed day as, having not carded a bogey until the 10th hole on Thursday, made two in his first three holes.
His decision to use his driver – which he used just once on the par-five sixth yesterday – at the second proved to be the wrong one but it was almost more costly for spectators.
Having carved a shot into a bank of rough he attempted a raking hook with the ball above his feet at almost waist height but it came out low and hard and skirted inches away from the packed gallery he had only just asked to move back a couple of yards.
A bogey was followed by a second at the next when he raced his 25-foot birdie attempt past the hole and could not convert the return.
However, the 14-time major winner immediately posted back-to-back birdies to return to level par where, after going bogey-birdie immediately after the turn, he remained through 12 holes.