European Tour

Willett grabs Wentworth initiative

2016-05-27 17:30
Danny Willett (AFP)

Wentworth - Masters champion Danny Willett put daylight between himself and the rest of the field before giving some of it back on day two of the European PGA Championship at Wentworth on Friday.

Willett finished with a 68, four-under par, and a two-round total of 134, 10-under, and a three-shot lead over Scott Hend and YE Yang but he had threatened to blow the tournament apart.

The Yorkshireman went to the turn in 29, six-under par, as he carried on his form from the opening round when he carded a bogey-free 66.

He was still bogey-free for the tournament but finally had a blemish on his card when he made a four at the short 10th. A birdie at the 14th was cancelled out by two more bogeys but and a messy finish.

Willett had started the day a shot behind Joost Luiten of the Netherlands, Hend of Australia and Yang but only Luiten was on the course at the same time when Willett was making a mockery of par.

At one point he was five shots clear but another bogey on the par-5 17th and a par at the last left him with a 68 that could have been four shots better.

Willett said: "I played great most of the day and then chucked a couple of horrid golf shots in there. Couple of silly shots on the back nine and didn't quite come up to a few of the lines. But 68, but you've got to look at the full number; 68 is a good score."

But Ryder Cup hopeful Rafa Cabrera Bello was making a move getting to four-under for the day and five-under for the tournament after 15 holes and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat was in touch after a 71 left him at five-under par. The America Jamie Lovemark also moved up the field finishing four-under for his two rounds on 140.

Cabrera Bello said: "I'm five shots off the lead. A little further than what I would like, but I'm satisfied with the way I've played, just being five shots off the lead, I think I'm in a good position. I don't think the leader will go very - will go much lower than that."

Willett was off half an hour before Luiten and made his presence felt with a birdie at the par-4 third, to go to seven-under, before making another one at the par-5 fourth which took him to eight-under par. He had saved par at the first after going over the back of the green with his second shot and at the second he raced his first putt six feet past the hole before knocking in the return.

Luiten drew level by getting a shot back on the 2nd before Willett continued his birdie blitz with two more at the fifth and the sixth to get to 10-under a shot clear of his rival. After parring the seventh normal service was resumed on the eighth when Willett hit his approach to two feet and knocked in the birdie and the Yorkshireman was four clear of the field.

Willett's early pyrotechnics were in stark contrast to playing partner Victor Dubuisson who struggled to an opening nine of 37 and slipped down the field after his opening 69 on Thursday.

Hend and Yang were among the afternoon starters along with England's Richard Rock, South African Jaco van Zyl and another Australian Richard Green, who all shot opening 67s. Two-time winner Luke Donald, who had a first round 68, was another to tee off after lunch.

The projected cut was at 145, one-over par with half the field still to tee off.

Read more on:    european tour  |  danny willett  |  golf


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