Collin Morikawa was just six years old when Ben Curtis marked his Open bow with victory at Royal St George’s, the last time a debutant lifted the Claret Jug.
Morikawa’s memories of it are understandably scarce – he readily admits he is no golf anorak – but a stunning 64 on day two means the 24-year-old will enter the weekend with the opportunity to repeat the feat of his fellow countryman at the same venue.
The man himself only has eyes for the future as he looks to write his own story and he was in inspired form on Friday morning, with a scintillating run of four birdies in five holes between the 8th and 12th seeing him surge up the leaderboard.
A birdie on the final hole would have seen Morikawa equal the Royal St George’s course record of 63 – another fact unlikely to keep him up at night – and he has put himself in with a shot of replicating his achievement at last year’s PGA Championship by taking home the trophy on his first appearance.
“Yesterday I thought I played well but I was able to hit a few more fairways early on in the round today,” he said.
“When I’m on the fairway with an eight or nine-iron, I feel very comfortable – not necessarily going straight at the pins but being aggressive with the lines I need to take.
“It [The Open] is a major and every single one is important to me. There are memories here and there but I am awful with golf history – I want to create my own memories.
“I did not know 63 was a low out here, like I say I’m awful with that stuff, I just came out and tried to hit birdies.
“I’m very pleased, I just need to continue that into the next couple [of days].”
GETTING USED TO THE LINKS
Morikawa’s relative inexperience within links golf has not held him back so far and he credits last week’s Scottish Open with providing the perfect grounding.
The presence of spectators in Sandwich has also spurred Morikawa on and he hopes to give those attending over the weekend more shots to remember.
“I would not be here through these two rounds if I had not played the Scottish [Open],” he said.
“I can think of places I have played in tighter conditions but having the ball sitting a little different on the fairway was huge to see last week.
“It was a huge learning opportunity. I wanted to win but came out of it learning a lot more, which helped for this week.
“I've been biased because I've lived in the US my entire life and I love the fans out there, but I think the fans out here could be even better.
“They cheer for you walking up to the green, walking up to the tee box, and they truly love golf. You can see it.
“They really appreciate a good shot. They appreciate when you play smart and you're in the rough and you hit it out.
“They know what tough golf is, and this out here can play very tough when you're not in the fairway.
“They bring kind of that energy, that life into what we do, and it's really exciting to see them out here and grow as the weekend comes on.”