British Masters: Late slump costs Matt Fitzpatrick as Danny Willett rallies

Danny Willett at Close House
Danny Willett at Close House
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Matt Fitzpatrick was left to bemoan a poor end to his second round at the British Masters as he fell seven shots off the lead.

The Sheffield golfer made steady progress over his front nine, turning round one under par for the day at Close House.

And he looked in a great position with back-to-back birdies on 12 and 13 to move onto seven under for the event.

But Fitzpatrick – the 2015 champion – carded consecutive bogeys on 15 and 16 to drop back to -5, which left him seven behind leader Tyrrell Hatton, who is in front by three.

There were better fortunes for Danny Willett who enjoyed a blemish-free round to move into contention for a decent finish in the north east.

Willett finished three under par for the day to move to four under for the tournament and an overnight tie for 25th place.

At 12 under par, Hatton enjoyed a three-shot lead over tournament host Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Ashley Chesters, Chris Hanson and Robert Karlsson, with Graeme Storm and Lee Slattery on eight under with Finland’s Mikko Ilonen.

Rory McIlroy could only add a 69 to his opening 67 to lie eight shots off the pace on four under alongside Willett.

Westwood added a 65 to his opening 66 and has yet to drop a shot this week despite coping with the demands of hosting the event, which included hiring an extra field for additional parking as more than 18,000 spectators attended on Thursday.

Poulter celebrated his 10th wedding anniversary by also shooting a 65 to move into contention for a first victory since 2012, four of his six birdies coming in succession from the 12th.