Horacio Carbonetti stood on the 18th green at Muirfield today, looking at a putt of some 40 feet. "I say to caddy, 'I hit putt very strong -- one putt or three putts'," the 32-year-old Argentinian said.

His 28th putt of the day was dead in the cup and the course record of 66, held by Johnny Miller, Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino, went by the boards to the magnificent 64 posted in the early afternoon of the British Open's second round by Carbonetti, a former lawyer.

Carbonetti's round got him to even par for the two days following a 78 Thursday that, he said jokingly, had him already packing his bags. He said he was bothered by Thursday's heavy rains. "I hit driver, three-wood, short," he complained.

A recount of his round today sounded like a broken record -- "one putt from one yard," "one putt, two yards," "one putt from five yards," "one putt from 12 yards," "one putt, eight to 10 yards," etc.

When Carbonetti started describing his playing of the seventh hole, he hesitated, not remembering which iron he hit at that 185-yarder. "That's the one you didn't play," quipped one listener, hardly believing that a 64 could be shot over the complete 18 holes by such an unlikely performer.

Carbonetti, whose grandfather emigrated to Argentina from Italy, has been a professional only 2-1/2 years. Before that, he practiced civil law in the family firm in Rio Cuarto, a city "400 kilometers from Buenos Aires."

"I do not like working as a lawyer," he said. "I am a bad lawyer."

He was a good-enough golfer to have once shot a 60 on his home course and was three times amateur champion of Argentina. He traveled several times to the United States to play in amateur tournaments. Already this year, he has won three tournaments in his home country, worth $16,000, and joined the European tour last month. His best finish has been a tie for 29th in the English Classic, with a 300 total over four rounds.

He made the British Open field for the first time via local qualifying.

Carbonetti says he was a motorcycle racer for some time, but gave it up to concentrate on golf.

"I raced very badly," he admitted. Crashes? "Many times. I break several legs."

Asked if he were married, Carbonetti replied, "No," looked skyward, paused, and added, "Thank you, God."

On breaking the course record, heretofore held by famed American players, Carbonetti reflected: "I feel so much lucky."

Another pause.

"And I am a good player, I think."