DP World Tour Championship: Putter pain slows Danny Willett’s Race To Dubai progress

Danny Willett

Danny Willett

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Danny Willett is aiming to get his putting game going after continuing his steady progress at the DP World Tour Championship.

Willett ended the second round on three under par after carding -2 during a decent second day. His performance left him in a tie for 17th.

But with the Race To Dubai crown still very much up for grabs, the Sheffield golfer knows he must begin a push up the leaderboard soon.

The 29-year-old must finish in the top four this weekend to have any chance of topping the European Order of Merit, while a win would guarantee him the title.

Willett is currently six shots off the lead, jointly held by Francesco Molinari and Sergio Garcia on -9.

But he feels he could have been much closer at the end of the second day if not let down by his putting.

“I hit it good again but I’ve been very bad with the putter on the back nine,” he said.

“It’s just a shame when you’re actually hitting a lot of good golf shots. I had a four or five footer on the last, a seven or eight footer on the 17th, hit it to three feet on 16.

“We had a lot of chances and just didn’t take anything. When you give yourself a lot of chances it gets more frustrating.

“It’s all right when you hit it to 45 feet but when you’re hitting it close all day, it just frustrates you a little bit.

“Last week, I was hitting bad and that was frustrating and this week I’m hitting it good and it’s frustrating because the blade is now working.

“Things need to get back going our way a little bit, just holing a few putts.

“There’s a really good score not that far away.”

Of the four players still in contention for the Race To Dubai crown, Alex Noren is the highest placed heading into the third round at the DP World Tour Championship.

He is ahead of Willett and currently Race leader Henrik Stenson by a single shot.

Rory McIlroy recovered from a poor first round to card a four under par 68 and move onto -1 for the tournament. The former world number one needs to win this weekend to have any chance of retaining his Race To Dubai title.

Who needs to do what to win the Race To Dubai

Though he needs to climb the leaderboard, Willett says he is already playing as aggressively as he can and feels all he needs is for putts to drop.

He said: “I don’t think we can be much more aggressive with the long game.

“We’re hitting it to back flags and making sure we’re bringing back into play and try to hit it close. And the front flags, we’re bringing it short, trying to hit it close.

“It’s not like we’re trying not to do anything more aggressive into the greens or anything.

“We just need a few putts to drop in and it’s as simple as that really.”

Willett opened his second round with two birdies in the first three holes but gave the shots back with bogeys on five and seven.

He landed two birdies on the back nine to card a decent round of 70.

Willett is out at 6.10am alongside Dane Thorbjorn Olesen.

Fellow Sheffield golfer continued his excellent form in Dubai with a second 69 in two rounds to sit three shots off the lead.

As he did on Thursday, the 22-year-old had just a single blemish on his round. Fitzpatrick dropped into a tie for eighth but remains well placed.

He is out at 7.10am with Joost Luiten of the Netherlands.

Worksop’s Lee Westwood slipped into third place with a two under par round of 66 not quite enough to keep up with the pace. He sits one shot behind Molinari and Garcia heading into Saturday’s third round.

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