Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Willett on a Swiss Roll at the Masters; GOLF

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Willett on a Swiss Roll at the Masters; GOLF

Article excerpt

DANNY Willett surprised himself with a brilliant start to the defence of his Omega European Masters title - but the form of Ryder Cup team-mates Matt Fitzpatrick and Andy Sullivan could be a concern for European captain Darren Clarke.

Willett carded an opening fiveunder-par 65 at Crans-sur-Sierre, finishing his round in style with an eagle from 10 feet on the ninth - his final hole of the day.

That left the Masters champion in a nine-way tie for second a shot behind American Paul Peterson, England's Daniel Brooks and France's Gregory Havret and Mike Lorenzo-Vera.

In contrast, Willett's playing partners Fitzpatrick and Sullivan struggled to rounds of 75 and 74 respectively, Fitzpatrick limiting the damage with two late birdies after playing his first 14 holes in seven over par.

Willett has endured a mixed campaign since claiming his first major title in April, missing the cut in three of his nine events and recording a sole top-20 finish in the BMW PGA Championship after sharing the halfway lead. …

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