A vintage display of putting from Cameron Smith saw the Australian surge around the Old Course to leapfrog day-one leader Cameron Young, opening up a two-stroke lead at 13-under.
Having started the day in third, Smith's eight-under 64 matched the week-best score carded on Thursday by Young, who was unable to replicate the relentless pace he set the previous day. After a flawless first round, the American suffered his first two bogeys of the major as he signed off with a three-under 69.
Smith raced out of the blocks with three consecutive birdies and would later add three more, but the pick of the bunch would follow at the 14th with a breathtaking eagle putt. His perfectly measured, winding effort sparked a roar from onlooking fans, yet the 25-year-old was the picture of cool, with a wry smile at his caddie the peak of his celebrations.
After admitting to "feeling like a kid again" when practicing on the course earlier in the week, the reaction typified a shifted mindset.
"On the practice days, it's easy to have a laugh and stuff like that," Smith told reporters.
"But out there, the last couple of days have been such a grind, it's almost snapped me back into thinking about the shot right and really having to be precise with targets and shapes."
However, the five-time PGA Tour winner was quick to highlight the importance of switching off after rounds. After winding down by watching a few episodes of "Peaky Blinders" following his first round, the Australian plans to get through some more of the BBC's hit TV series before the weekend.
"I've always done a good job, once golf is finished, of getting on with life," Smith said.
"I told myself it's like a job, don't take it home with you. I think it's really important, especially in these big tournaments."
Young heads chasing pack
Despite seeing his early lead chipped away, Young was in an upbeat mood, happy with his performance barring "a couple of bad swings" and some errant putting.
"It felt like I was still in control of what's going on, I just hadn't kind of put it together yet," he said.
"Rather be in second than tenth. You're going to have to play some good golf over the weekend regardless."