Early riser Willett avoids wandering mind in Dubai

Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:53pm EST
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By Matt Smith

DUBAI (Reuters) - An early start was pivotal as Britain's Danny Willett scorched his way to a seven-under-par 65 in the second round of the $2.5 million Dubai Desert Classic on Friday.

The 26-year-old preacher's son fired eight birdies and one bogey, producing his best display since a spectacular 63 at the Abu Dhabi Championship two weeks ago when he was also among the first players to tee off.

"If I have too long in bed my mind starts wandering. You can come here too early and do a bit too much, that's caught me out in the past," world number 109 Willett told Reuters after finishing three shots behind leader Rory McIlroy.

"By the time you tee off you've hit far too many balls and done far too much thinking about what you're trying to do. For early mornings you're almost not awake for the first few holes and it almost actually benefits you."

Willett will start his third round just after midday and the omens may not be good because the affable Englishman followed his 63 in Abu Dhabi with a 76.

He attributed his slump two weeks ago to a hip problem and said consistency was not an issue, a suggestion borne out by the fact he is a combined 26-under-par from 14 rounds this season.

"In the last six rounds I've probably only missed eight or nine greens," he explained.

"I'm playing some good golf, it's just a question of hitting it that little bit closer and holing a couple of extra putts."   Continued...

Danny Willett of England takes a shot on the 9th fairway during the second round of the 2014 Omega Dubai Desert Classic in Dubai January 31, 2014. REUTERS/Caren Firouz