Flawless Willett makes hay while the sun shines

Danny Willett during the second round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic
Danny Willett during the second round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic
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Danny Willett says he took advantage of favourable conditions as he produced a stunning second round to move within a shot of the lead at the Dubai Desert Classic.

The Sheffield golfer fired a flawless seven under par round of 65 to move to -9 for the tournament, one shot behind overnight leader Rafa Cabrera-Bello of Spain.

And he says being drawn into an early morning tee slot suited him well for a climb up the leaderboard.

“In Dubai and Abu Dhabi, it’s always the same with wind picking up in the afternoons so it’s always good to go out there in the morning,” Willett said.

“You’ve got fresh greens, the wind isn’t as strong as it might be and it’s nice to count of that.

“Thursday was real breezy at times and it cost us a couple of shots. We had a couple of good breaks as well though.

“But it was nice to get out in the better conditions on Friday and post the type of score that you know is out there on the golf course if you play well.”

Willett did not drop a single shot during Friday’s round as he surged up the leaderboard to join South African pair Ernie Els and Trevor Fisher Jnr in a tie for second spot.

And he admits he is feeling the benefit of missing last week’s tournament.

“The weeks off are a big part of my year,” Willett said. “It’s about getting my back sorted, spending time at home with [wife] Nic who is pregnant.

“You need good quality time at home and also while I’m there, getting some good work under my belt.

“It makes for a relatively short week, treating it like a job as it is, getting it done and going home.”

Fellow Sheffield golfer Matt Fitzpatrick endured another up and down day but did enough to make the cut.

The 21-year-old posted a two under par round of 70 to move onto -1 for the tournament and a tie for 56th place.

Fitzpatrick turned around at -3 for the round but a pair of bogeys on his back nine slowed his progress.

He will tee off at 4.19am on Saturday alongside fellow Englishman Robert Rock.

Willett is due out at 8.46am with Fisher Jnr.