Tuesday, 22 March 2016
Danny Willett  (Getty Images)
Danny Willett (Getty Images)

Danny Willett will be looking to continue an excellent record at the World Golf Championships when he tees it up in the WGC-Dell Match Play at Austin Country Club this week.

The Englishman finished third in this event last season and has also secured top three finishes in his last two World Golf Championships at the WGC-HSBC Champions and the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

He finished in the top 20 in all of last season's World Golf Championships as part of a remarkable surge of form that has seen him move up to 11th in the Official World Golf Ranking and win three European Tour titles in the last 16 months.

Willett sees his performance at TPC Harding Park last season as a breakthrough in his career and is looking for another strong showing after being grouped with Brooks Koepka, Billy Horschel and Jaco Van Zyl in the opening stage.

"It was a big step last year, went a long way," he said. "I played great against Gary (Woodland) in the semis, unfortunately Gary just played that little bit better.

"So it was good. It would have been nice to go a couple better. It was a good breakthrough and I beat a lot of good players along the way.

"I had a tough group last year with Patrick Reed, Sully (Andy Sullivan) and Ryan Moore, and came through that and had to play Westy (Lee Westwood) and Tommy Fleetwood. I played a lot of good players and I came out on top. Hopefully this week we can go play our game and see where it takes us.

"There's going to be some great matches out there this year all across the board. I think every group is really, really strong in depth.

For me it was massive last year. It's just trying to build on that week in and week out. I'm trying to get myself a bit more settled - Danny Willett

Willett knows he will face a tough test in the first stage, with 2014 Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year winner Koepka up to 20th in the OWGR, 2014 FedEx Cup champion Horschel at 42nd and Van Zyl, who came close to winning the Turkish Airlines Open last season, just ten places below.

Koepka and Horschel will both be looking to play their way on to the United States Ryder Cup team later this year, and Willett believes there may be a few previews to September's clash at Hazeltine this week.

"I think it's good for all the European guys," he said. "I think you'll see quite a lot of Ryder Cup match-ups out there this week.

"In our group, you've got myself, Brooks and Billy, and obviously those two guys have got the capacity to be on the team, as do I. I think throughout the 16 groups, there's going to be a lot of matches that you'll see in September."

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