At St. Andrews 11 years ago, the South African led for the final three rounds to run away with a seven-shot victory across the Old Course and he looks in the mood to offer something even more striking in the 149th edition of The Open, as he followed up his overnight-leading 64 with a five-under 65 in the second round.

His 11-under-par total gives him a two-shot lead going into the penultimate round after the 38-year-old recorded the lowest halfway total in Open history at Royal St George's.

He fired an eagle and four birdies, with his two-round total of 129 eclipsing the 130 set by Nick Faldo in 1992 and Brandt Snedeker in 2012, yet this most unfussy of characters made it all sound quite workaday.

Louis Oosthuizen has put on a ball-striking and putting clinic across the first two rounds of The Open. PHOTO: Getty Images

"Yeah, played really solid today and in good position for the weekend," he shrugged in typically understated fashion after a performance of sheer class.

If he'd parred the short 16th instead of the one bogey blemish in his round, Oosthuizen would have matched the lowest halfway total at any major – Brooks Koepka's 128 at the 2019 U.S PGA.

"To have any record at the Open or part of any record at the Open is always very special," Oosthuizen conceded.

"I think I've played really good the last two days. Today we got really lucky over the last nine holes. It was as good a weather as you can get playing this golf course."

With the late afternoon breeze having subsided, Oosthuizen's crowning glory came on the par-5 14th when he made two glorious blows and sank a 25-footer for eagle.

Not that Oosthuizen, who's often seen unfairly as a serial runner-up after also previously finishing second at six majors including this year's US PGA and US Open, will be taking anything for granted as a stellar field gathers menacingly behind him.

Last year's US PGA champion Collin Morikawa, on his Open debut, shot a dazzling 64 to lie just a couple of shots adrift while another former Open  Champion, Jordan Spieth, is a stroke further back at nine-under.

The 2019 PGA Champion, Collin Morikawa had his own chance to break an Open scoring record. PHOTO: Getty Images.

Morikawa was quite brilliant, having earlier also threatened the halfway record that Oosthuizen later broke.

"I had no clue what any record was. I'm awful with that stuff. I know now," smiled the 24-year-old whose iron play was so majestic that he may soon have to start studying up on those landmarks.

There's quality lurking behind that trio with World No.1 Dustin Johnson tied for fourth at seven-under and Koepka another two shots back alongside Jon Rahm, who fired a 64.

But Australian golf's hopes of finding a successor to Greg Norman, the country's last winner on these very links in 1993, are looking faint as our leading man, Cameron Smith, sits at four-under in joint 17th place.

The only other Aussie out of 11 starters to make the one-over cut was Adam Scott – the ideal way to celebrate his 41st birthday – but he's 10 shots adrift after his 66 and admits it will take a "miracle" for him to emulate Norman.

– Ian Chadband.