Playing in just his second-ever Major, World Number 98 David Lynn thrust himself firmly into the limelight after charging up the leaderboard thanks to a four under par 68 on Moving Day at the US PGA Championship.
Lynn, who is likely to be a little-known Englishman to most golf fans on the American side of the Atlantic, qualified for the 94th staging of the event thanks to an invite from the PGA of America and the 38 year old has thrown himself into the job of taking full advantage of his place in the field.
A consistent if sometimes low-key performer over the years, Lynn, who has finished inside the top 90 The Race to Dubai for the last 12 seasons running, captured his only European Tour title so far at the 2004 KLM Open in the Netherlands – a victory that propelled the Merseyside man to his best-ever season placing of 26th.
However, playing in his first Major Championship in America after 17 years as a professional, Lynn followed up his opening salvos of 73 and 74 – the latter even more impressive considering the hugely taxing conditions in which it was recorded – with a stunning performance on Saturday at Kiawah Island Golf Resort that saw him climb 26 places up the leaderboard as the day progressed.
Lynn, who revealed it was only Tuesday of the week prior to the event that he knew he had a place in the field, took full advantage of the more placid conditions in South Carolina on the third day of the final Major Championship of the year, posting a rip-roaring start over the front nine that saw him reach the turn in 32 thanks to birdies at the second, third, fifth and eighth holes.
After finding the rough from the tee at the tenth, he carded his first bogey of the day before immediately bouncing back with a fifth birdie of the day at the long 11th, with a sixth red number at the 16th helping him into the top ten of the tournament at that stage.
His round was only soured slightly by a somewhat messy finish that saw him post a bogey at the last to finish four under par for the day, and tied for 12th four shots off the lead as the afternoon starters settled into their third rounds, but Lynn remained wholly upbeat about his performance on such a big stage.
“I have been feeling quite good,” Lynn said. “My game turned a corner a few weeks ago; practice has felt good. I feel like I'm hitting it well so I came here this week thinking my game feels pretty good, so why not.
“It was a steady bit of golf out there. Obviously I’m trying not to take on flags when they're cut by runoffs and obviously if you can keep it in the fairways off the tee – which I did for the most part – it allows you to play where you want to into the greens.
“I just played pretty steady and made three or four good putts.”
With his only previous appearance at a Major Championship coming nine years ago at the 2003 Open Championship at Royal St George's, you could have forgiven Lynn if he had taken a little time to adjust to the stage, but he insisted he was undaunted by the occasion while tempering his own expectations for what could be possible from Sunday’s final round.
“It's a different kettle of fish at the bigger events,” Lynn reflected. “But it’s all just what sort of pressure you put on yourself at the end of the day. It’s just another round of golf around a golf course so I try and eliminate all those sort of things going on around you, just play another round of golf. I was pretty relaxed out there to be honest.
“Tomorrow I'd just like to come out in the same frame of mind as I have done today. Obviously it will be a different day tomorrow, so I’ll just try to get off to a nice start then hopefully get back in the zone and see if I can post a number.”
The key appears, for Lynn, to have been enjoying and embracing the new experiences and culture in South Carolina – this week hosting its first Major Championship – and he admitted to having had a couple of close calls with some of the abundance of exotic creatures that frequent the land surrounding the Ocean Course.
“My girlfriend over this week and everything’s been fairly relaxed,” Lynn said. “I'm on the island in a lovely villa which has got a lovely bit of decking area sat over the water behind. There are alligators and I literally stood on a gator's head - that's how close they are!
“I think there are about three different ones that come over. They all seem to come over to where we are and one of them is quite a big lad, he's quite scary. The guys I'm staying with have named him Big Dude.”
Like the alligators he has seemingly befriended, Lynn appears to be snapping up his opportunity on Kiawah Island.