If you’re out and about on the links of Muirfield over the weekend and hear the cry ‘Dumbo’, don’t be offended. While it sounds like a regular holler directed at this correspondent when I slooter soup on my laptop in the media centre canteen, the moniker is actually a term of endearment for AIG Women’s Open leader In Gee Chun. We’ll explain it in a minute.

The 27-year-old Korean made a telling advance on day two in East Lothian with a back-nine of 31 during a sturdy five-under 66 which hoisted the three-time major champion into a one-shot lead over Ashleigh Buhai and Madelene Sagstrom on eight-under.

So, what about this Dumbo thing? Well, Chun was given the nickname by her coach due to her keen sense of hearing which can often lead to her backing off shots if she detects any distant rustlings. 

Think of Colin Montgomerie, who could somehow hear a butterfly breaking wind 120 yards away, and you’ll get the general idea. The mild-mannered Chun, of course, is a trifle less explosive than a snapping, crotchety Monty.

As she hunts down the career grand slam, this was another canny display of poise and purpose on a tricky, testing day. Chun’s 66 was her lowest round in eight AIG Women’s Open appearances. Seventh at Royal Troon in 2020 and tied eighth in 2016 at Woburn, Chun is a woman on a mission.

It’s not just the title she’s hoping to win either. “Before the tournament, my caddie and I had a little bet,” she said. “If I have a bogey-free round he’s going to pay for dinner and pay me $100.” Chun has not managed to keep a bogey off the card yet, but the challenge is keeping her on her toes. “It’s fun but it puts me in the right mindset,” she added.

Buhai, who led by three shots at halfway in 2019, had made a rampaging early charge and raced to the turn in 30 with four birdies and an eagle on the fifth but she slithered out of a share of the lead with a leaked shot on the last. The South African’s 65 matched the best of the day, posted a couple of hours earlier by the surging Sagstrom.

The Swedish Solheim Cup player, who shared second at Carnoustie 12 months ago, was quick to pinpoint the area of the game which had allowed her to prosper. “Putting, putting, putting,” she smiled. She putted well then?

As she embraced the challenges, nuances and vagaries of the links examination and passed with flying colours, Sagstrom, who birdied three of her last four holes, afforded herself a keek back to her formative experiences with this particular type of golf. Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside? Not quite.

“It was mega-hate at first sight,” she said with a wry grin. “I remember we played an Amateur Championship in Wales, the weather was horrendous and I couldn't keep the ball low to save my life. I figured it out from there, though.”

Lurking just a shot behind Sagstrom and Buhai is the great Inbee Park, who bolstered her assault on an eighth major crown with a 67 for six-under.

The 34-year-old’s last major win was the Women’s Open at Turnberry back in 2015. Since then, the former Olympic champion has talked about retirement and another major moment on Scottish turf would certainly see her kicking back with a wonderful sense of satisfaction “I would be a very good way of saying farewell,” said the career grand slam winner. “I still have a little bit left in me, though.”

On the home front, Louise Duncan slipped back with a 73 for a two-under tally but the West Kilbride rookie is still nicely placed in the top-20. “It was a bit of a grind,” she said of a round which featured three bogeys in a row near the turn. “But to be two-under after two rounds at Muirfield? I’m happy with that.”

With a wedding to arrange too, a decent chunk of the $7.3 million purse will help her plans. “If it’s a big, big pay cheque I’ll just go abroad and get it over with … in the nicest possible way,” she chuckled of the forthcoming nuptials.

Duncan’s compatriot, Gemma Dryburgh, birdied her last two holes in a spirited 69 to make the weekend on two-over.