Golf, like football, is a funny old game...
For most of this season, Irishman Paul McGinley has hardly been able to hit his hat yet here he is at Carnoustie, arguably the toughest of all The Open venues, leading the chase for the coveted Claret Jag after shooting one of the rounds of his life, a stunning four-under-par 67.
Where did that come from? May be it was the huge black mits which enabled McGinley to keep his hands warm on a chilly mid-summer's afternoon. It was certainly out of the blue although McGinley did tell Today's Golfer in an interview we did with him on Monday evening that he was "down but definitely not out."
Before he teed it up in the 1st round, he also told us: "It has been a struggle this season but I'm still scrapping and working hard to put things right and I'm confident of getting there.
"I'm not done for yet," he promised. "I've still got a lot to do and achieve in this game and it's certainly about time I started performing in the majors."
McGinley lived up to his word. He was six-under-par with four to play and although he dropped shots at the 15th and the notoriously tough par 3 16th he kept his composure and finished in style with a couple of hard-earned pars, including an outstanding up-and-down from a greenside trap at the 18th.
It was a plucky effort by McGinley, the meat in the sandwich of two of the game's biggest hitters in Aussie John Senden and American Ryder Cup player J.J. Henry.
But the Irishman was in no way intimidated by the two big guns and played his own game although, having said that, not the below-par game he has been playing of late!
But McGinley won't be counting any chickens just yet. He's suffered too many recent disappointments and setbacks to do that; he's aware it's very much early days and that anything can happen and probably will. It's a start and no more than that...
* Look out for the full TG interview with McGinley in the November issue. Meanwhile, you can check out McGinley's post-round audio here...