Henrik Stenson believes rolling with the punches is the key to his bid to become the first male Swedish winner of a major title.
Stenson carded a second consecutive round of 70 at a fiery Muirfield to briefly share the clubhouse lead with Lee Westwood and world No 1 Tiger Woods midway through the second afternoon.
“I kind of know what to expect,” said the 37-year-old, who was third at Birkdale in 2008 and at St Andrews in 2010. “I’m just very happy, I’m taking all my hits on the chin and just moving on.
“That’s kind of the mindset you have to have at these events. You know it’s going to be tough and sometimes you might not feel like it’s fair, but we’re all playing the same course and you’ve got to keep on going forward, not backwards.
“It’s a tough one, but I’m very happy with the patience and then the mental balance that I’ve managed to keep these first two days, to leave with a double bogey (on the sixth), and go up and birdie the next and pretend it never happened. That’s one of the secrets to do well in this game and especially these tournaments and I’ve done well so far.”
Stenson won his maiden European Tour title in 2001, but then went through the first of two career slumps, the second coming in 2011 and leaving him 230th in the world rankings at the start of last year. Now back up to 30th, the former Ryder Cup player took a two-shot lead into the final round of the Scottish Open last week, only to finish third after a closing 73.
“I’m up here and playing in a big tournament again,” he added. “I think I’ve got the experience to do well in these championships. Tough conditions is something that I enjoy and suits my game, as well.
“I might still look for a bit more confidence and a bit more trust in my long game. I feel like I’ve been a bit wishy-washy these two days. But at times I’ve hit some nice ones and committed to some good shots as well.
“Obviously I would like to be the first Swede or Scandinavian to win a major. We’ve got some work to do before we talk about that.
“I’d rather talk about how that feels on Sunday, if it happens.”