Injury forces Danny Willett out of Arnold Palmer Invitational as Matt Fitzpatrick misses cut

Danny Willett was forced to withdraw from the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a shoulder injury.

Friday, 16th March 2018, 8:24 pm
Updated Friday, 16th March 2018, 8:30 pm
Danny Willett

The Sheffield golfer was two over par following the front nine of his second round in Florida when he opted to withdraw.

Afterwards, Willett tweeted: “So disappointed to WD from @APinv such an awesome event! Game feeling good, just need to get the body 100 per cent.”

The 30-year-old had been looking to build on a fine 29th placed finish as the Tshwane Open last week and had carded an even par 72 on day one in Orlando.

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Willett will no doubt have one eye on The Masters on April 5 and aiming to ensure he arrives at Augusta in the best possible condition.

Also at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Matt Fitzpatrick missed the cut for the second successive week despite an improved second round performance.

A four over par 76 on day one proved costly for the 23-year-old and a one under par second round was not enough to recover, seeing him miss the cut by two shots.

Fitzpatrick will play the WGC Dell Matchplay next week ahead of The Masters.

Sweden’s Henrik Stenson overcame a slow start to remain at the top of the leaderboard on day two of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Stenson added a second round of 69 to his opening 64 at Bay Hill to set the early clubhouse target on 11 under par, a target matched minutes later by American Bryson DeChambeau following a 66.

Rory McIlroy, who has missed the cut in two of his last four starts on the PGA Tour, is six shots off the pace after a second round of 70 which featured five birdies and two bogeys.

Stenson had covered the back nine in 31 on Thursday, but after starting from the 10th on Friday, the former Open champion could only manage nine straight pars to reach the turn in 36.

The par streak was extended to 13 holes before Stenson found his range on the greens to birdie the fifth, sixth and seventh to maintain his bid for a first win of the season.

Asked what made the difference between missing the cut in last week’s Valspar Championship and his performance so far, the world number 15 told PGA Tour Live: “Putting more than anything, but a combination of putting and my shots.

“I’ve been hitting a few really close this week and setting up some good opportunities from three or four feet. Today wasn’t as good as yesterday, obviously but the important part for me was 16, 17, 18. I scrambled for par all those three holes after hitting some not so-good golf shots.

“I kept patient and then I got on a strong and made three [birdies] in a row coming home. Three under around this golf course is never bad.”

McIlroy’s putting was noticeably better than in recent weeks and the four-time major winner told Sky Sports: “That’s been a huge improvement over the first two days.

“I sort of messed around on the putting green a little bit, trying to go back to some feels I’ve had before and putted really well. Hopefully that continues.

“Over the weekend last year I was hitting driver pretty much everywhere, leaving myself wedges in. If I drive it like that again over the weekend I feel like I’ll have a good chance.”

McIlroy shot rounds of 65 and 69 last year to finish in a tie for fourth, two behind winner Marc Leishman.