There was a point during day two of the AIG Women’s Open when Ally Ewing was so far ahead of the rest, she may as well have been playing in the 2024 edition of the championship.

The 30-year-old from Mississippi had been holding a slender one-shot advantage after the opening round on a leaderboard that was so congested, Walton Heath was just about appearing on the traffic updates alongside news of jams and tailbacks on the M25.

But then Ewing got the foot down. A wonderfully assembled six-under 66 for a 10-under aggregate set a formidable halfway target and saw her power away from those left wheezing on behind. 

At one stage of the round, she was a whopping seven strokes clear of the field. In the end, her advantage heading into the weekend was a healthy five from Andrea Lee, Minami Katsu and Charley Hull.

Ewing, a three-time winner on the LPGA Tour, put in a tremendous display of calm, controlled golf. It was one of those days when everything in her game was in tip-top condition. She may have slipped to a bogey on the last hole but it couldn’t take the shine off a polished performance. 

Her rousing run of four birdies in a row saw her reach the turn in just 30 blows. In fact, Ewing made six birdies in nine holes between the third and the 11th as she grabbed the final major of the year by the scruff of the neck.

Her fellow competitors were left gasping as they looked up at the leaderboard. Asked what course Ewing was playing, Angel Yin, who sits on three-under, chuckled in admiration and said: “Not this one.”

As for Ewing’s own reaction? “I didn't really even know until I signed my scorecard that I had four birdies in a row,” she said. “That stretch from like six to 11 is kind of a blur. I was very in the present on all of those shots.”

Just last month, another golfer from America’s deep south, Brian Harman, took charge of a major and enjoyed a procession to a coronation in The Open at Hoylake. Here in Surrey, Ewing, who was born in Elvis Presley’s hometown of Tupelo, left everybody, well, all shook up.

The aforementioned Harman was given the moniker, the ‘Butcher of Hoylake’ due his fondness for hunting. Given her own southern roots, it was probably inevitable that the topic would crop up again.

“I actually do some hunting,” added Ewing, who has certainly been inspired by Harman’s Hoylake heroics. “I know that's probably not going to be interpreted well by the media, but I do, yes. I think people can spin it the wrong way for sure. It's a means to eat. For the most part my family, my husband and I, we do deer hunting. He (Harman) is a southern guy, I'm just a little Mississippi girl. It is inspiring what he did."

Ewing will inspire in her own way too. Not long after earning her LPGA Tour card in 2016, she was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes. Her condition, while presenting constant challenges, has not been a barrier to achievement.

“It’s tough,” she said. “Some days are tougher than others, but it's manageable. I deal with high blood sugar, low blood sugar. That's why I have to stay on top of it. I can feel pretty loopy. I can feel shaky. It honestly changes every time."

On a day which saw Ashleigh Buhai, the defending champion, miss the cut and major champions like Lydia Ko, Lexi Thompson, Hinako Shibuno and Brooke Henderson depart early, English hope Hull delighted the large galleries as she moved to five-under with a four-under 68 that was highlighted by two raking birdie putts at the 11th and 15th. 

“It’s a good position and I now have to chase her (Ewing) down,” said Hull.

On the home front, Scottish No 1 Gemma Dryburgh conjured a late flurry and reeled off three birdies in a row from the 14th in a 71 to comfortably make the cut on level-par.

Dryburgh certainly knows about the qualities of the leader. “I played with Ally in the final round of the Women’s Scottish Open last week and I’m not surprised to see her up there,” she said.

Glasgow’s Kylie Henry showed admirable spirit in a battling one-under 71 to make the weekend on the two-over limit.