“Well done”, she wrote, “you’ve made the cut”.

He’s doing much better than that.

He was on fire and after a glorious front nine of 33, swiftly followed by his fourth birdie on the 10, he looked on a mission….and full value for his three-shot lead over overnight pacesetter Dustin Johnson – stuck kicking his heels in the clubhouse until his 5.58pm tee-time.

Danny Willett was soon brought down to earth by his own mother after setting the pace in the 144th Open at St Andrews.

“Looking up there, it’s still a little surreal”, he said in his thick Yorkshire accent during his post-round news conference. “It’s a little bit like death”.

Casual golf fans are unlikely to know much, if anything, about Willett. “Jacksonville State University, the Gamecocks – the normal ones, not the South Carolina ones”, Willett once told the Anniston (Ala.) Star. He was the top-ranked amateur when he chose to turn professional in 2008.

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Early-tournament major leaderboards are like going to a class reunion of people two grades below you.

Willett has long found the Old Course to his liking. He won the season’s first event, the Nedbank Golf Challenge, for his second European Tour title and then reached the semifinals of the WGC-Cadillac Match Play, finishing third.

The 27 year-old came into the Open at St Andrews 51st in the world and 100/1 to lift the Claret Jug.

“It was a couple where it was bad on and off and I withdrew probably five, six, seven times a year”, said Willett earlier this year.

Play had started at 6.32am (local time) but the first group, which included former champion Mark Calcavecchia, did not even complete the first hole before conditions became unplayable.

“It’s a work in progress and it’s nice that it’s come off this week”.

The 27-year-old from Sheffield, who had feared “armageddon” type weather after posting a 66 on Thursday, controlled the wind to card a second sub-70 round that puts him two shots clear on Friday afternoon.

Hard rain interrupted play early Friday and many golfers might complete the second round before dark.

Willett returned to his hotel beside the 17th fairway and went back to bed for an hour.

The action resumed at 10 a.m., meaning tee times will be pushed back more than three hours.

Bowditch was addressing a three-foot putt for a bogey on the testing 495-yard, par-four Road Hole when the wind caused the ball to move and he dropped his club in despair.

There were sporadic shouts of “Go, Danny boy” during his round but the crowds following Willett’s group, which also had Gary Woodland and Thongchai Jaidee, were small considering it contained the Open leader.