The true test of golfing greatness began today for Rory McIlroy as he took a two-shot lead into the second round of the Open Championship at St Andrews.
McIlroy yesterday added a 63 to his collection of stunning low scores to equal the lowest round ever in a major championship, card the lowest opening round in Open history and move ahead of Tiger Woods in the betting.
There has never been a 62 in major championship history - McIlroy's 63 was the 24th such score - and the 21-year-old admitted the prospect of rewriting the record books had crossed his mind before he missed a short birdie putt on the 17th.
But the Northern Ireland star has had a 62 before, in the final round to win his maiden US tour title at Quail Hollow earlier this season, and even a 61 at Royal Portrush almost five years ago to the day in the North of Ireland Amateur Open when he was just 16.
Whether he can now follow in the footsteps of compatriot and US Open winner Graeme McDowell remains to be seen, but he has certainly taken confidence from McDowell's triumph at Pebble Beach.
"I always felt that majors were like getting to the next level, and I always thought a major was a little farther away than it probably is," said McIlroy, who was two ahead of South African Louis Oosthuizen and three clear of a five-strong group on six under including 1995 champion John Daly, Scotland's Andrew Coltart and Wales' Bradley Dredge.
"I always thought maybe (after) another two or three or four years of development in my game, I'd be ready to challenge for majors.
"But seeing Graeme win at Pebble Beach made me realise that it might not be as far away as I thought it was."
The fickle St Andrews weather and a certain world number one might have some say in that, with Woods lurking ominously just four shots off the lead on five under par.
Seeking an unprecedented third Open title at St Andrews, Woods never looked at his imperious best, but still carded six birdies and just one bogey - when he three-putted the 17th - to hint at a return to form.
"Every week I'm playing, the things I've been working on have been starting to come together," Woods said.
"I'm hitting shots that I haven't hit in a long time. It's building.
"I'm in good shape. I took advantage of a golf course when I needed to take advantage of it."