Even Princess Anne must have been slightly entertained. Her Royal Highness once suggested that “golf seems to be an arduous way to go for a walk, I prefer to take the dogs out.”

As a guest at St George’s yesterday for the second round of The Open she at least got to glimpse a few top dogs conjure a Royal Variety performance that would have went down a storm at the Palladium.

It started with Collin Morikawa, whose rousing charge could have featured a bugle call on the first tee as he barged into the early clubhouse lead with a 64 for a nine-under total. It ended in the lengthening shadows of a lovely Kent evening as Louis Oosthuizen’s 65 gave the 2010 champion a two stroke lead on 11-under 129, the lowest halfway total in Open history.

With Jordan Spieth hovering at eight-under and Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all lurking in the upper echelons, the loaded leaderboard is as mouth-watering as an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Oosthuizen, one of four South Africans in the top-10, certainly provided plenty of food for thought with a thrilling run which included two birdies and an eagle in three holes from the 12th as he threatened to run away from the pack.

A “horrible mistake” on the 16th, which spawned a bogey, halted his thrust and the 38-year-old had to make a good up-and-down on the next to salvage his par. All in all, though, it was fine shift.

He may be in a handy position but Oosthuizen, with six runners-up finishes in the majors, knows there is still a long way to go. “Around this course, a lot of things can happen,” he warned. “I don't think you want to think too much about it (winning) until you get to that 18th green on Sunday. And hopefully you still have a lead.”

The lowest score in men’s major history is the 62 posted by Branden Grace in the 2017 Open at Royal Birkdale. Morikawa certainly had that record in his sights as he covered 14 holes in seven-under during a round that was so hot, even his card just about needed a lashing of Factor 50.

A bogey on the 15th, however, cooled things down and Morikawa parred in, although his effort for a birdie to equal the course record on the last lipped out.

Morikawa is making his first appearance in the Open and bidding to become the first debutant to win since Ben Curtis’ surprise success here in 2003. A win for Morikawa, of course, would not be a surprise at all given that he is the world No 4 and already a major champion. At just 24, he continues to prove just what a quick learner he is.

In his first appearance in a professional event in 2016, he reached a play-off as an amateur. After turning pro in 2019, he won in just his sixth start before winning his first major on his debut at the US PGA Championship last year.

The benefits of a links outing in last week’s Scottish Open, meanwhile, have been clear to see. “I wouldn’t be here through these two rounds if I hadn’t played last week in Scotland,” he said. “Just having fescue fairways and the ball sitting a little different was huge to see. I wanted to win the Scottish Open, but I came out of it learning a lot more.”

Spieth felt “fatigued” on the last few holes but kept it together with a 67 while world No 1 Johnson’s 65 had him hovering menacingly at seven-under.

Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo covered the back nine in just 30 blows en route to a 64 as he moved to six-under while Marcel Siem’s presence in the top-10 remains a warming tale of golfing redemption.

The German, a four-time European Tour winner who once reached a career-high of 48th in the world, is now plying his trade on the second-tier Challenge Tour after a prolonged spell in the doldrums. A win on that circuit last weekend, though, earned him an Open place and continued to hint at a second coming.

“If you don’t accept that you have lost your tour card then you can’t compete on the Challenge Tour,” he said. “You are grumpy, you are upset. Once you accept where you are, that’s the only way forward.”

As the 149th Open moves forward, we should all be royally entertained over the weekend.