European Tour

Willett in hunt at European Masters

2016-09-01 19:50
Danny Willett (Getty Images)

Crans-Montana - Masters champion Danny Willett made a strong start in the opening round of Thursday's European Masters in Switzerland as he looks for a form boost ahead of the Ryder Cup later this month.

Willett, who won last year's event at Crans Montana in the Swiss Alps, finished with a flourish after sinking an eagle on his final hole for a five-under par 65.

The Englishman, who has just one top-20 finish since April's Augusta triumph, is among a group of nine players one stroke behind the leading quartet of Paul Peterson of the US, French pair Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Gregory Havret, and England's Daniel Brooks.

Australian Marcus Fraser, who led the Olympic golf tournament at the halfway stage before falling back into a tie for fifth, also shot 65 along with Open championship revelation Andrew Johnston.

Willett is one of six European Ryder Cup rookies in captain Darren Clarke's squad for the September 30-October 2 showpiece at Hazeltine in Minnesota.

Leading first round scores Thursday from the European Masters at the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Course in Switzerland (GBR & IRL unless stated, par 70):

64 - Paul Peterson (USA), Mike Lorenzo-Vera (FRA), Gregory Havret (FRA), Daniel Brooks

65 - Joachim Hansen (DEN), Scott Hend (AUS), Julien Quesne (FRA), Li Haotong (CHN), James Morrison, Danny Willett, Marcus Fraser (AUS), Richard Green (AUS), Andrew Johnston

66 - Steve Webster, Nino Bertasio (ITA), Anthony Wall, Andrew Dodt, Mikko Ilonen (FIN), Richard Sterne (RSA), Mathias Eggenberger (SUI), Graeme Storm, Callum Shinkwin

67 - Florian Fritsch (GER), Richard Bland, Robert Rock, Miguel Angel Jimenez (ESP), Oliver Wilson, Richard Lee (CAN), John Parry, Carlos Pigem Xammar (ESP), David Howell

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