Friday, 05 February 2016
Danny Willett  (Getty Images)
Danny Willett (Getty Images)

Danny Willett did not need to ride his luck on Friday as he fired a brilliant 65 to vault himself into contention at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

The Englishman enjoyed a remarkable piece of good fortune in the first round when his second shot to the par five 13th at Emirates Golf Club went in the water but bounced straight out and found dry land.

Willett got up-and-down for a birdie on his way to an opening 70, but went five shots better in the second round with seven birdies in an unblemished effort powering him to nine under.

"Good things are going to happen for you to compete," he said of his remarkable birdie. "You can't just play great golf all the time. You need a little bit of luck, and yesterday, that was a nice one."

On his second 18 holes, he added: "It was good.

Played some really good golf, a lot of good solid shots in the fairway, gave ourselves a lot of good numbers and didn't really give ourselves too much stress out there, which is key - Danny Willett

The 28 year old won the season-opening Nedbank Golf Challenge last season and was never out of the top two in The Race to Dubai as he finished second to Rory McIlroy in the 2015 standings.

He began the new campaign with a fourth-placed finish in Sun City, and sandwiched playing his part in Europe's victory at the EURASIA CUP presented by DRB-HICOM with a tie for 54th at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

That moved the Sheffield-native to sixth in this year's standings and Willett, whose wife is expecting their first child, admits he will have to juggle his schedule this time around.

"A different year," he said. "This game can be a bit crazy. Can be playing great one week and terrible the next. That's just how it happens.

"It's nice to follow up a good finish last year, start off the year well at Sun City and nice to get back into it now. This is only my third event, so I'm trying to get on a bit of a run now and then take a bit of time off, obviously, when the little one comes."

Willett is a strong favourite to make Darren Clarke's Ryder Cup team for Hazeltine but insists he is taking things one step at a time.

"There's a lot of golf to play before then, a lot of things that I would like to do outside of that before that comes around," he said. "If I can keep doing the things that I'm working on trying to do, then hopefully I'll be there."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1WILLETT, DannyENG18-19
T2SULLIVAN, AndyENG18-18
T2CABRERA-BELLO, RafaESP18-18
T4QUIROS, AlvaroESP18-16
T4AN, Byeong HunKOR18-16
T6MCILROY, RoryNIR18-15

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