Thursday, 03 March 2016
Danny Willett  (Getty Images)
Danny Willett (Getty Images)

Danny Willett fired an excellent opening 68 to sit just two shots off the lead during round one of the World Golf Championships - Cadillac Championship on Thursday.

The Englishman finished second on The Race to Dubai in 2015 and already has a win in 2016 after his dramatic victory at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic last month.

Willett has spoken of his desire to make the European Ryder Cup Team later this year and he was getting some good preparation in for that at Trump National Doral, as he looked to chase down an American duo at the top of the leaderboard.

Scott Piercy set the clubhouse target with a six under par 66, and he was a shot clear of five-time Major Championship winner Phil Mickelson.

Willett began his campaign on the back nine and made gains on the 12th, 14th and 16th all from ten to 15 feet, complementing a birdie on the notoriously tough 18th thanks to a brilliant 22-foot left-to-right putt.

The putter stayed hot on his back nine as he holed from 18 feet on the par three second but he gave the shot back on the next and parred his way home.

Piercy had held a three-shot lead at one point and had two blemishes on his card, one coming at the last after his tee-shot plugged in the bank of the water hazard.

Mickelson had seven birdies and two bogeys in his round as the 2009 winner chases a third WGC title.

Maybank Championship Malaysia champion Marcus Fraser was alongside Willett with six holes to play, with American Charley Hoffman also four under through 14 holes.

Former US PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner signed for a 68 and was a shot clear of World Number One Jordan Spieth.

Spieth was playing in the marquee group of the day with Rory McIlroy and the World Number Three suffered a double-bogey on his final hole to fall to one under.

The Northern Irishman changed his putting grip to left-below-right ahead of this week and while the putting stroke provided no problems, he dropped shots whenever he missed the green in regulation on the 13th, 18th and ninth.

Adam Scott, Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler were all still out on the course at three under, a shot clear of Wales' Jamie Donaldson, who signed for a 70 to sit alongside Hideki Matsuyama.

Englishman Andy Sullivan was in the clubhouse alongside McIlroy after an opening 71.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1SCOTT, AdamAUS18-12
2WATSON, BubbaUSA18-11
T3WILLETT, DannyENG18-10
6WALKER, JimmyUSA18-8

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