Danny Willett was delighted to take his range form out onto the golf course as he put himself right in contention heading into the weekend at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation.
The 2016 Masters Tournament champion has struggled with injury this season and his tie for eighth recently at the Italian Open was just his second made cut of the season and second ever in a Rolex Series event.
He has shown glimpses of the form that made him a Major champion, however, and his opening 68 on Thursday was his fifth sub-70 effort in his last nine rounds on the European Tour.
The 30 year old followed that with a 70 on day two at Ballyliffin Golf Club, and was delighted that the positive signs seen in practice sessions were beginning to appear on the links.
“It's nice to come out and hit the shots that you can see in practice and actually perform still under pressure when the clubs are in your hand and you're trying to improve what you're doing,” he said. “I'm very happy to be playing nicely.
“When you're struggling, you're trying to hit it to safe sides, especially on golf courses like last week and this week. It gives you a little bit of a buffer in there.
“The results don't always come but it is nice that we've got a couple of nice rounds together here and we're playing the next three weeks. It's nice to hopefully build momentum.
“Results are what they are. I was more happy with the shots that we hit, the areas you put it in when we try to hit certain shots, and the game over the last two days. It's very pleasing to see and it's always nice to then sign for a decent score as well.”
Willett will move from the north coast of Ireland to the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open and then the Open Championship, and he is loving the European Tour's links swing.
“I think around a links golf course, you get a few bad breaks and this and that but if you can make your good moves and try to hit the shots you're trying to hit, I really enjoy these challenges of links golf,” he said.
“We've played a lot of links golf as an amateur obviously and we don't get to play loads of it on the European Tour. It's really only this little spell in the year.
“It's really enjoyable to come back and play this kind of golf and I think you've got to play it with that mentality. You look back over the years and there was countless Americans who hated links golf at first and then Tom Watson, being one of the main ones, grew to love it and took that approach - if actually you embrace what links golf is and what it gives you, it can be a really enjoyable test of golf.
“If you start to get a bit annoyed, the bounces start to get a little bit worse. Just take it for what it is.”
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