Jason Dufner almost made history and his heroics almost obscured Justin Rose's as the sun came out at Oak Hill and the major champion came out in Rose.
The Englishman closed the gap to one with a stunning inward half of 29. It equalled Rose's lowest total for nine holes and was the best in the season's final major for 18 years.
That, however, was overshadowed by Dufner's almost-iconic round. He tied the all-time major scoring record with a seven-under 63 to grab a two-stroke lead after the second round of the PGA Championship, where Adam Scott lurks in a tie for second.
Dufner had a 12-foot putt on the last hole to be the first player in major championship history to shoot a 62 but left it agonisingly short to settle for an Oak Hill Country Club course record. He is the 26th player to shoot 63 in a major, interestingly only five of whom have gone on to win the tournament.
"Probably the worst putt I hit of the day, which is a little disappointing," Dufner said. "But all in all, it's a 63, and name on top of the leaderboard. So that's a great position to be playing from."
Scott fired a two-under-par 68 in constant rain during the morning wave to move to seven-under for the tournament, tied with Americans Matt Kuchar (66) and Jim Furyk (68) in second place. US Open champion Rose (66) and British Open runner-up Henrik Stenson (66) share fifth at six-under.
Oak Hill was the centre of a deluge for the first four hours of play. The layout had been softened by storms, anyway, but it was soon reduced to dartboard status.
That is normally good news for these professionals but the course became longer. Tim Clark, playing alongside Westwood, could not reach three of the par fours.
Credit to Scott, therefore, for coping with the conditions to shoot a two-under 33 in the opening nine. Scott, the man with the best swing in golf, was threatening to slip the field.
But then the downpour relented, the sun peaked through a cloud and the entire landscape changed. First came Webb Simpson, the 2012 US Open champion, who with seven birdies in his first 15 holes set himself up for a shot at becoming the first player to record a 62 in a major.
Simpson duly bogeyed the next and ended up signing for a 64 to stand on four-under. By then, Rose was on his charge.
"The rain stopped and that was pretty much it," Rose said. "A fresh glove, took off the rain pants and I got after the golf course. I started my round bogey-bogey and struggled, so the change of weather was like a mental trigger to do something different on the back nine."
Rose also found himself drawing on memories of Merion. "I feel different since that experience, absolutely," Rose said. "I sit here today relishing the opportunity on the weekend to try to win another major. There is no hesitation as there would have been a few years ago because, back then, I didn't know how I would deal with it. I feel I do now."
As does Scott after his own breakthrough at Augusta in April and if it does come down to a fight between these great friends, it would be appropriate. They are golf's new major men, although Scott will have a few doubts following the British Open. He held the lead on Muirfield's 13th tee, but proceeded to emulate his Lytham meltdown from the year previous and make four bogeys in succession.
Tiger Woods made a bogey on the final hole to cap another disappointing round at a major, sitting 10 shots off the lead and facing the likelihood of a fifth-straight year without adding to his tally of major victories.
Woods plodded through an even-par 70 at Oak Hill when there were 60s all over the place.
"Just the way it goes," Woods said. "I need to hit it better than I have."