As a car salesman who does a bit of caddying on the side, Paul Drummond has landed himself with something of a classic marque at this week’s AIG Women’s Open.

In need of a bagman for the final major of the season, Lexi Thompson, the US golfing golden girl and world No 5, had Drummond recommended to her by the Carnoustie caddiemaster. “I’ve had plenty of  caddie work here, but never with anyone as high profile as this,” said Drummond as he swapped dealing with a Lexus to steering a Lexi.

Drummond’s knowledge of his home town links is as intricate as a Haynes Manual’s dissection of the engine in a Talbot Sunbeam and this temporary alliance is motoring along quite the thing with Thompson sitting just two shots off the halfway lead after a two-under 70 moved her to a five-under tally.

In her quest for a second major title, Thompson lurks menacingly behind joint leaders Georgia Hall and Mina Harigae, who are on seven-under, with world No 1 Nelly Korda back on four-under. 

Scottish amateur Louise Duncan, meanwhile, continued to do herself proud in her major debut as she eased into the weekend at three-under on a day that also saw 57-year-old Laura Davies make the cut and defending champion, Sophia Popov, miss it.

As for Thompson and Drummond? Well, in between dishing out yardages, lines and general pearls of Carnoustie wisdom, you half expected Drummond to peer up from the strokesaver and say, “by the way Lexi, I’ve a nice low mileage, 19-plate in the forecourt if you fancy it?” The way the duo are getting on, he could’ve chanced the sales pitch.

“There are no cars over here for me,” chuckled Thompson, who is well-versed in Scottish bletherations having previously employed Kevin McAlpine, the son of former Dundee United goalkeeper Hamish, as her caddie for a successful stint.

Three birdies in a row on her front nine yesterday had Thompson making ominous advances and, despite a couple of stumbles coming in, the 26-year-old was more than happy with the progress being made so far this week. “All of my shots have been very important with Paul’s advice because he tells me how it's going to bounce in front of the green, how it's going to roll up and where I should land it,” she added. “I'm fully trusting him.”

Thompson, whose one and only major win arrived seven years ago, had a glorious chance to bridge that title gap in this season’s US Women’s Open but she frittered away a five-shot lead on a calamitous back-nine and missed out on the play-off. It’s a cruel old game but Thompson remains philosophical about golf’s fickle fates and fortunes. “I don't feel like I have any point to prove,” she said. “Things like the US Open happen in golf. It’s such a crazy, up and down game. And you take the downs and keep going with a positive attitude.”

Harigae, who needs to earn a first LPGA Tour win this weekend to claim a US Solheim Cup place, did her chances to harm with a robust 67 which included four birdies on her last seven holes. Hall, meanwhile, was bounding along at the head of the leaderboard until a double-bogey on the 15th reeled her back into the pack. On a finishing stretch that’s as hazardous as a toxic spillage, leaked shots here can be par for the course. Hall, the 2018 Women’s Open champion, wasn’t going to let that six torment her. “I handle the pressure better now,” said the 25-year-old. “I’m more experienced than in 2018 and I feel in my head, I’m more stable.”

Hall’s playing partner, the aforementioned Duncan, kept her head when it may have been easy to lose it during an eventful and spirited 73. The West Kilbride youngster’s caddie, Dean Robertson, admitted it had been a “real grind” for her particularly during a run of three bogeys around the turn. The wheels may have been shoogling but they didn’t come off and Duncan stood firm to limit the damage to a one-over round. “There were some ups and downs but, overall, I’m really happy with how I battled,” said the 21-year-old.

Duncan will be joined over the weekend by Kelsey MacDonald, whose four-under outward half helped her to a 70 and a one-over total.

In her trademark blue and white, MacDonald is still flying the flag. “I’m a human saltire,” she smiled.