WATCH: Danny Willett makes horror start to second round of his defence of The Masters

Danny Willett cannot hide his frustration during his second round at The Masters
Danny Willett cannot hide his frustration during his second round at The Masters
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Defending champion Danny Willett was left praying for some help from the "golfing gods" after suffering more misery on the opening hole at Augusta National in the 81st Masters.

Willett suffered a dreaded shank on the 445-yard par four on his way to a quadruple-bogey eight, having carded a double-bogey six there in his opening 73.

The 29-year-old also bogeyed the fourth, 11th and 18th in a second round of 78 to finish seven over par, a shot outside the projected cut and 11 behind clubhouse leaders Sergio Garcia and Charley Hoffman.

The top 50 players and ties, plus anyone within 10 of the lead, qualify for the last two rounds, with Canada's Mike Weir the last defending champion to miss the cut in 2004.

"It's been a tricky 12 months and we haven't played great golf, but by the same token if you look at the career we've had, we've not really had a slump in form in two years," Willett said.

"We've had two fabulous years and then you have a little bit of a downturn and it feels like the world is coming to an end.

"It would be nice if we can be given a little bit today by the golfing gods and it would just be nice to play Augusta again in front of the patrons. Playing Augusta at the weekend would be nice with the (good) weather coming in, but we had that in our own hands and unfortunately we let that slip."

From an awkward stance on the edge of a fairway bunker on the first, Willett shanked his second shot into the trees, from where he executed a good escape shot which ran just off the left-hand side of the green.

His first chip then failed to climb a steep slope and rolled back down to his feet, while his next attempt was hit too hard and rolled across the putting surface and off the front of the green.

The world number 17 then chipped to six feet and two-putted for a demoralising eight, before dropping another shot by three-putting the fourth.

"If it goes in the bunker it's not too bad, if it goes a foot right you can get a stance," Willett said. "Where it finished wasn't great and from there it was my own fault. I know you can't miss there (left of the green).

"I played some pretty good golf in the middle there and couldn't hole a bean."

Overnight leader Charlie Hoffman failed to continue his fine opening day form but closed on -4 to give him the clubhouse lead once more.

And he was joined by Sergio Garcia whose three under par gave him a share of the lead.

Hoffman and Garcia finishing on -4 means Willett cannot rely on the ten-shots-off-lead option to make the cut and must hope for a significant shift on the leaderboard to drop the cut back to +7.

Fellow Sheffield golfer Matt Fitzpatrick began his second round later in the day, looking to build on a strong performance on day one.

A double bogey on the last spoilt the copybook of Fitzpatrick but his -1 score was still incredibly positive from a difficult opening day.

Two bogeys in the first seven holes suggested the 22-year-old may be enduring a slump of his own but he righted his course with a birdie on eight to move back to +1 and stay inside the top 12 heading towards his back nine.