European Masters: Danny Willett starts defence in style but Matt Fitzpatrick struggles on birthday

Matt Fitzpatrick in action at the European Masters

Matt Fitzpatrick in action at the European Masters

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Danny Willett finished with an eagle as he got the defence of his European Masters title off to an excellent start in Switzerland.

But the day was nowhere near as positive for fellow Sheffield golfer and birthday boy Matt Fitzpatrick who will face a fight to make the cut after ending his first round five over par.

Willett eagled the ninth – his 18th – to concluded a positive round in style and move within a shot of the lead at Crans-sur-Sierre.

Birdies on 15 and 18 helped the 28-year-old turn around two under par.

After a birdie-bogey combo on four and five, Willett moved up the leaderboard with a birdie three on seven before his heroics on the last to close with a 65 as he looks to build form heading into the Ryder Cup later this month.

Fitzpartrick is hunting for the same but will need a significant change in fortunes on Friday.

On his 22nd birthday, he struggled from the start and followed bogeys on his first two holes with a double bogey six on 12 – his third.

Bogeys followed on 14, one, three and five and his round could have been much worse but for back-to-back birdies on seven and eight.

His five over par 75 left him in a tie for 132nd.

Paul Peterson and Mike Lorenzo-Vera took the overnight lead on -6.

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