The Open: Star-studded group for Danny Willett

Danny Willett during practice at Royal Troon
Danny Willett during practice at Royal Troon
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Masters champion Danny Willett has been drawn in a plum group as he looks to add a second Major to his collection at The Open.

The Sheffield golfer – who finished sixth in The Open at St Andrews last year after taking the clubhouse lead into the third round – will play his first two rounds alongside Rickie Fowler and world number one Jason Day at Royal Troon.

The trio will tee off at 9.25am on Thursday. Day missed out on a three-man play-off by a single shot last year.

Willett’s fellow Sheffield golfer Matt Fitzpatrick begins at 10.09am alongside Billy Horschel and Hideto Tanihara.

World number three Jordan Spieth gets his campaign for a third major title under way at 9:03am alongside former US Open champion Justin Rose and Ireland’s Shane Lowry, who let slip a four-shot lead in the final round at Oakmont last month.

Honorary member Colin Montgomerie will hit the first shot of the 145th Open Championship.

Montgomerie, who is making his first appearance in the Open since 2010 after coming through final qualifying, tees off at 6:35am alongside former world number one Luke Donald and Australia’s Marc Leishman.

The 53-year-old, whose father James was club secretary for more than 20 years and will soon take over as president, finished 24th and 25th respectively the last time Troon staged the Open in 1997 and 2004.

Speaking ahead of last week’s Scottish Open, Montgomerie said he would probably not have entered the 36-hole qualifying event if the Open had not been at Troon.

“Because it was Royal Troon I thought I’ll give it a go and it was quite a big deal to qualify,” the former European number one said. “It was more of a relief than anything because I’d come so close at Sunningdale last year to winning the British Seniors and I knew the winner got an invite into Troon.

“Having qualified, next week’s goal is to be there on Sunday and that has changed, no question. Back in the 90s, I was going to The Open to win it. That has changed of course. You have to be realistic.”

Rory McIlroy returns to The Open after missing last year’s tournament with an ankle injury.