European Tour

Willett wants Turkish boost in Race To Dubai

2016-11-02 22:58
Danny Willett (Getty Images)

Belek - Masters champion Danny Willett is intent on regaining his lead in the European Tour's Race to Dubai at the expense of absent Henrik Stenson at the Turkish Airlines Open in Belek.

Willett has led the money list title since last April when fitted with the coveted Augusta National members green jacket.

But the 29-year old Englishman found himself pushed into second following Stenson's joint second in last week's WGC - HSBC Champions event in Shanghai.

Stenson has elected not to compete in the 6.3 million euro opening leg of the Tour's three-event Final Series at the Regnum Cayla Resort course laid out along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

Willett trails Stenson by 261,387 euros and needs to finish fifth or higher to overtake the Swede.

"I had a terrible week last week in China and it was one of them things where anything that could go wrong, went and I didn't play great," he said.

"And then just to put the icing on the cake, obviously Henrik (Stenson) and Rory (McIlroy) both finished well up there.

"So, it's unfortunate that Henrik's jumped me but I was never going to win the Race to Dubai on the amount I was on.

"I always had to bump it forward and that's still the aim so I have got to go out here this week, and hopefully the golf game gets a little better and we just keep working forward."

The absence of Rory McIlroy over security concerns could also help Willett as McIlroy moved to third on the Race to Dubai after sharing fourth in Shanghai.

Six of the players ranked from McIlroy to South African Branden Grace at ninth on the Race to Dubai have elected not to compete in Turkey.

However, it will be a case of 'normal service' resuming at next week's Nedbank Challenge in South Africa, and the second of the Final Series events with all those inside the top-10, and with the one exception being McIlroy, set to compete.

"I've got the Nedbank next week and then The Race to Dubai finale in three weeks' time, so there's still a lot of golf left," added Willett.

"I've just not been playing very well, so that's the main aim of the next three weeks to get back to playing good golf again."

At 10th in the world Willett finds himself the highest ranked player in the 78-player Turkish field.

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