European Tour

Willett eager to win his own event at British Masters

English golfer Danny Willett
English golfer Danny Willett

Tournament host Danny Willett is seeking to give the trophy to himself after forcing his way back into contention on Friday's second day of the British Masters at The Belfry.

The Englishman made a slow start and was three over par after 12 holes in his first round before carding a 73 to finish Thursday one over par.

But the former US Masters champion surged back into contention with a second-round 65 featuring eight birdies on the Sutton Coldfield course near Birmingham.

"Today felt like myself. Yesterday felt like my brother," joked Willett, who is six under par after two rounds, three shots behind halfway leader Hurly Long.

"It would be amazing to win the British Masters regardless of whether you're hosting or not," Willett added. "It's a big event, there's been some great winners, some great hosts.

"But to be able to pass myself the trophy would be a pretty cool experience. There's still a long way to go but we can all hope and dream."

Long started his second round in steady fashion with nine straight pars before he birdied five of his next six holes.

The German bogeyed his final hole but finished on nine under par, a shot ahead of Scot Richie Ramsay and Dane Thorbjorn Olesen, with another Dane, Rasmus Hojgaard, one stroke further back.

Long is in his first season on the DP World (European) Tour but finished third and second in back-to-back starts earlier this year.

"I think that's certainly going to help me," said Long, born in Heidelberg to an American father (Tom, a golf professional) and a German mother.

"I've been in this situation before. I'm really looking forward to it, there's a lot of good players near the top of the leaderboard so it should be a good test and a lot of fun," he added.

Leading second-round scores in the European Tour's British Masters at The Belfry, Sutton Coldfield, on Friday (GBR and IRL unless stated, par 72):

135 - Hurly Long (GER) 67-68

136 - Thorbjoern Olesen (DEN) 66-70, Marcus Kinhult (SWE) 70-66, Richie Ramsay 67-69

137 - Rasmus Hoejgaard (DEN) 68-69

138 - Danny Willett 73-65, Sebastian Soederberg (SWE) 70-68, Marcus Armitage 71-67, Justin Walters (RSA) 68-70

139 - Ashun Wu (CHN) 67-72, Ryan Fox (NZL) 66-73, Mikko Korhonen (FIN) 70-69, Paul Waring 70-69

140 - Sam Horsfield 71-69, Fabrizio Zanotti (PAR) 70-70, Julien Brun (FRA) 71-69, Daan Huizing (NED) 69-71, Raphael Jacquelin (FRA) 69-71

141 - Robert MacIntyre 74-67, Thomas Detry (BEL) 74-67, Adrian Otaegui (ESP) 71-70, Jordan Smith 69-72, Jazz Janewattananond (THA) 73-68, George Coetzee (RSA) 71-70, Gavin Green (MAS) 71-70, Richard Mansell 71-70

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