Friday, 22 September 2017
Danny Willett  (Getty Images)
Danny Willett (Getty Images)
Danny Willett was delighted to see his hard work at home produce some results on the course as he fired a six under par 65 on day two of the Portugal Masters.

Danny Willett was delighted to see his hard work at home produce some results on the course as he fired a six under par 65 on day two of the Portugal Masters.

Willett has admitted he has not been at his best since his stunning triumph at the Masters Tournament in 2016 when he became the first Englishman to don the Green Jacket since Sir Nick Faldo 20 years earlier.

While he has enjoyed top fives at the BMW PGA Championship, Italian Open and Maybank Championship, that week in Malaysia in February was the last time he recorded a sub-70 round on the European Tour before Friday.

The 29 year old has changed his caddie and his coach and after seven birdies and a bogey gave him his lowest European Tour round in 371 days, he was delighted to be back to something like his brilliant best.

"I'm working hard," he said. "There's still a lot of bad shots in there. The good is kind of creeping in, we're still trying to eliminate a few of the bad rights but the processes are better and what we're working on is feeling better.

"The tricky thing in golf is that there as such fine margins in what you think is a good move or a bad move, a good strike or a bad strike.

"That's the reason why we've tried to play a few weeks in a row. The work I've been doing has felt really good at home on the range but it's a whole different ball game when you stand on the first tee and there's actually consequences to what you are doing.

"It's been nice to actually take it to the golf course today. It's a funny one, that doesn't mean we are going to take it tomorrow or Sunday.

"It's nice that we've got a chance now to get a few more rounds under the belt and keep putting the work in on the golf course and seeing about hitting the different shots and if you can do it under the circumstances."

Willett made birdies on the 12th, 15th, 17th, first, second and fourth and when he added another on the fifth after a smart up-and-down from a bunker, he was within touching distance of the leaders.

A ragged tee-shot on the seventh stalled his progress but a good weekend could bring European Tour title number six and the Yorkshireman was happy with his day's work.

"It was a slow start but we holed a couple of nice putts early in for a couple of saves and then I peeled off a few nice birdies on the two par fives on the back nine," he said.

It's been nice to actually take it to the golf course today - Danny Willett

"Then I had a really quick middle section to the round where me and Sam were joking coming down nine, we thought we were on the cut-line and all of a sudden you look at the leaderboard and you're seven under. It happened really quick, which was nice, it's nice to not be dropping back.

"I played some good golf out there, played a couple of bad ones as well but that's the game, that's kind of where we're at with everything at the moment. If someone said this morning I would have a 65, I would have bitten their hand off and gone and laid by the pool.

"We stayed relatively patient for the most part, picked off a couple of birdies and waited for the hot patch, which came in the middle of the round and boosted it.

"All of a sudden you're not looking behind you at the cut-line, you're looking at what the guys are doing in form, which is a nice feeling. We've not really been there for a while."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
2WARREN, MarcSCO18-16
T3STORM, GraemeENG18-15
T5GOUVEIA, RicardoPOR18-14
T5LIMA, José-FilipePOR18-14

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