Will Zalatoris says he "got away with murder" after overcoming a rough start on day two to take the lead of the US PGA Championship, finishing five under after a superb performance.
The San Franciscan topped the leaderboard at Southern Hills Country Club with nine under after two rounds, as Rory McIlroy faded from the summit and Tiger Woods scraped the overall cut.
The 25-year-old, who is chasing his first major after a second-place finish at the Masters last year, made one under par through the first nine before powering through the pack with a turkey between the 11th and 13th.
But Zalatoris felt he made a lucky escape after a few wayward shots early on looked to have checked any momentum he might have built.
"I got away with murder a few times today for sure, especially starting off the day hitting the left trees and hitting it to a kick-in," he said.
"Same thing on 17, being able to get out of there with birdie where it was looking like I was going to be making 5.
"10 was really the big one, compounding two errors and hitting one really good golf shot and saving par, I just kept the round going today.
" I made a bunch of six or eight-footers for par that kept the day going, and obviously being bogey free around this place is pretty nice.
"We lucked out with the draw for sure. I played the last eight holes with not much wind, but take it when you can get it."
Zalatoris is teeing up a tilt at a maiden triumph in one of golf's four most-storied events, having nabbed T8 at the PGA last year and T6 at the US Open the year before.
"They're tough golf courses that allows my ball-striking to really give me the best chances," he added on his prospects in majors.
"Obviously these greens aren't easy, but hitting them on the right tiers and being able to have the 15-to 25-footers where I'm not going up and down slopes is huge.
"But the other part, too, I think is just I've kind of had an attitude with the majors, especially since the Masters, where I wanted to enjoy the experience as much as I could.
"I don't want to leave anything. Looking back from 20 years from now I don't want to regret my attitude or anything like that.
"So I just make sure that after really every single shot I hit, it's just... I don't want to say life or death, but make sure I'm fully committed to everything that I do because we only get four of them a year."