Kiwi Lydia Ko, who started the day one off the pace, is now out in front in the $2 million event, which, with seven of the world’s top ten having started out on the Ayrshire coast, boasts its strongest-ever field.
For the second day running on the far from easy Kyle Phillips-designed course, the 25-year-old carded a bogey-free seven-under-par 65. She leads by two shots from American Lilia Vu (67), with Korea’s Eun-Hee Ji a further shot back after a best-of-the-day 64.
“I felt like I played more solid yesterday,” said Ko as she reflected on a second circuit that was illuminated by an eagle-3 at the fifth - her 14th hole. “Today I think I had a few more birdie opportunities that I missed.”
Apart from a heavy burst of rain on Thursday afternoon, it’s been a favourable couple of days weather-wise, as Ko, having now paid a number of visits since she burst onto the scene as a teenager, is well aware of.
“In conditions like this, where the wind is pretty calm and the sun is out, you have to take advantage of it because we all know that over on this side of the world it can change pretty quick,” said the two-time major winner.
As quick as overnight, with rain and wind on its way for the third round. “You just have to play with what you get and those are the aspects that you expect over here,” said Ko.
“So you just have to embrace it and know the wind and the rain and fescue are all factors when you're playing links golf. You just have to be patient and try and hit good quality shots.”
Having finished second behind American Ryann O’Toole at Dumbarnie Links 12 months ago, Ko has set up a great chance to go one better before heading to Muirfield for next week’s AIG Women’s Open, the season’s final major.
“I feel like the British Open and the US Open were probably the two majors that I hadn't really consistently put myself up there,” she said. “I feel like Evian or Chevron I've played a little bit more consistently. And I had one of my best finishes at the US Women's Open this year. So maybe that's like good juju for this European swing.
“But I've always loved playing over here. The food and the people remind me a lot of being back home in New Zealand as well. And I saw a couple Kiwis out here, which was really nice.
“But the world's best are here, so it's not easy to be the one hoisting the trophy at the end of the week. And it's not really me versus the rest of the field, but more like me against myself.”
Defending champion Ryann O’Toole sits on five-under, two ahead of world No 1 Ko Yin Young, while AIG Women’s Open champion Anna Nordqvist scraped through on one-under.
Kylie Henry started with a 6 and also finished with one but made four birdies in between to card a second successive 71 to sit on two-under alongside Gemma Dryburgh, who mixed two birdies with three bogeys in signing for a 73.