Willett in birdie rally

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SHEFFIELD’S Danny Willett shot a two under par 69 in the first round of the Joburg Open in South Africa yesterday, a score that put him back in the field with the leaders in the low 60s.

Willett had four birdies and two bogeys with his first two birdies on the front nine at the third and the par five ninth.

He then dropped shots at the 13th and 14th to go back to level par but responded superbly with an immediate birdie on the par five 15th followed by another birdie on the 17th.But with the field all helping themselves in a birdie blitz, it meant Willett was back in the field. England’s Jamie Elson - who has just come through qualifying school - shared the lead with Ireland’s Damien McGrane, both shooting eight under par 63s.

Charl Schwartzel, seeking a third successive Joburg Open win, had his round delayed by thunderstorms.