Willett walks on water to stay in touch in the desert

Danny Willett
Danny Willett
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A quite remarkable birdie from Danny Willett helped him stay in touch with the leaders at the end of the first round of the Dubai Desert Classic.

Going for the green in two on the par five 13th, the Sheffield golfer smashed a wood which found the water, only for the ball to somehow kick out and find the fairway.

From there, Willett pitched to within two feet and made his putt for birdie.

It was a mixed bag of a round for Willett who shot a two under par 70.

He finished his front nine one over par after following a bogey with a double bogey on six and seven.

But he recovered very well on the back nine, making four birdies only to fire a bogey on the penultimate hole.

His -2 round left him four shots off overnight leader Alex Noren of Sweden and in a tie for 29th.

Willett is out at 4.05am on Friday, alongside Joachim B Hansen and Chris Wood.

Fellow Sheffield golfer Matt Fitzpatrick endured first round struggle for the second consecutive week.

The 21-year-old fired a one over par 73, courtesy of a double bogey on the final hole which saw him tumble down the leaderboard.

He had progressed in fairly steady fashion to sit on -2 after 13 holes.

But a bogey on the 15th was followed by his disappointing concluding hole to finish tied for 84th.

Rory McIlroy sits two shots off the lead on -4, the same as Yorkshireman Simon Dyson.