As the wind hurtled across Dumbarnie Links during round two of the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open, you half expected players to be consulting the Beaufort Scale as well as their strokesavers amid the blustery buffetings.

While Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn harnessed the gusts to fine effect and hoisted herself into a three shot lead with a splendid six-under 66 for a nine-under tally, others had their ambitions rent asunder.

Poor Michele Thomson, who led by two overnight after a sparkling seven-under 65 on Thursday, gave it all back and a bit more as the Scot struggled to a torrid eight-over 80.

It was left to Kelsey MacDonald to keep the saltire billowing in the upper echelons as she got the head down, gritted her teeth and battled her way to a 71 of jaw-jutting defiance to sit on five-under and inside the top-10.

Negotiating the links was hardly plain sailing. At times it was as wild as steering a galleon in a tempest but MacDonald nailed her colours to the mast and recovered from a double-bogey on the 10th with an eagle and a birdie on her last four holes.

Straight downwind on the par-five 15th, the Nairn golfer was left with just a short wedge into the green and she gobbled up her three with aplomb.

It was a day for patience and perseverance and MacDonald embraced the challenge with gusto. “When the elements are so tough, it can eliminate half the field straightaway and you just have to grind it out,” she said. “I do like it when it’s tougher. I had a difficult hole on 10 which but I knew I deserved to be under-par today so it was a great to finish.”

If MacDonald’s late flourish was impressive, then Jutanugarn’s back-nine surge deserved a standing ovation. A winner of the Scottish title at Gullane in 2018, the two-time major winner put together a display of poise and purpose which underlined her standing in the women’s game.

One-under for her round through 11, the 25-year-old unleashed the heavy artillery on the run-in and blasted five birdies over her last seven holes to romp into a commanding lead.

Jutanugarn’s victory in the Scottish event three years was a highly significant milestone in her golfing education. “I felt so happy then and I told my caddie, ‘finally, I can win on a links’,” she said. “I won the British Open (in 2016) at Woburn, which is not links. So my dream my whole life was to win on a links course.”

Jutanugarn took a big step towards another seaside success but there’s plenty of golf to be played yet. England’s Charley Hull manoeuvred herself into a handy position with a second successive 69 which left her on six-under and in a share of second with Denmark’s Emily Kristine Pedersen and another Thai, Atthaya Thitikul.

The 25-year-old admits she is benefitting from playing with a free mind this week. In a game that often leaves you scratching your head like a flustered Stan Laurel working out a yardage, that’s not a bad policy to adopt. So how, exactly, is she keeping her mind free of the general golfing clutter that can build up?

“I think of shopping,” she said. “This year, my obsession has been with golf but sometimes it (her mind) is too obsessed with it. So I’ve switched my mind to shopping. It’s my new addiction. I’d better play good golf to pay for my shopping.”

Jutanugarn’s teenage Thai compatriot, Thitikul, demonstrated that she was up for the chase with one of the best displays of the day in the toughest of the conditions.

The 18-year-old, who became the youngest winner of a pro event when she won the 2017 Ladies European Tour Thailand Championship at just 14, had been three-over for her round through six. She then picked up six birdies over the next nine holes during a rousing run of craft and graft. A bogey on the 17th halted Thitikul’s rampage but, after those early toils, her two-under 70 was a sterling effort.

Talking of good efforts, Scotland’s Hannah Darling put in a couple of fine performances to book her place in the final of the Girls’ Amateur Championship at Fulford.

The Edinburgh teenager beat Ava Bates 9&8 in the last eight before easing to a 3&2 win over Olivia Williams in the semi-finals to set up a final duel with Ireland’s Beth Coulter.