Revitalised Danny Willett reaping the benefits of a rest
Danny Willett believes taking a real break from golf has revitalised both his health and his game.
The Sheffield golfer fired a four under par 66 to put himself in contention at the Hong Kong Open.
And he says the benefit of a break before the start of the season helped banish the frustration of his recent struggles on the course.
Willett struggled for form in the second half of the year but hopes to have turned a corner.
“It’s nice to be in this position after the last few months,” Willett said.
“But it was nice last week, after the DP World Tour Championship, we obviously took a couple of weeks off because of my back and stuff and rested it well.
“I actually took some proper time off which I’ve not been able to do for a while. That was really nice.
“Coming out here, I’m probably as fresh as I’ve been for a month and a half, which is nice.
“It’s probably showed mentally more than anything.
“The frustrations, even when you hit bad shots, you don’t let it get to you as much as I did probably in previous couple of months.
“It was nice to get a break and put the feet up and spend a bit of time with the family.
“And it’s always nice to know you come out for one week and you’ve got your job to do for six days and then you’re going home again.”
A strong back nine on Friday fired Willett up the leadboard.
Turning round level par for the round – and -2 overall – he put a run of three straight birdies together between 12 and 14.
Another birdie on 17 left him at six under par for the tournament, five shots off leader Rafa Cabrera Bello and in a tie for third place.
Cabrera Bello backed up his opening round 64 with a 65 on Friday to take a three shot lead into the third round.
Willett is out for this third round at 4.51am on Saturday alongside American Paul Peterson.