SHEFFIELD'S Danny Willett made the most of an early start to shoot a seven-under-par 65 in the second round of the Dubai Desert Classic to haul himself into second place at the halfway mark.
Willett had seven birdies - four on the front nine and three on the back - and no bogeys around Emirates GC before revealing his preference for a morning tee-off time in the event.
"With the wind obviously in the afternoon picking up, it's always nice to go out there in the morning," said the European Masters champion, who carded a 70 in round one.
"You have nice, fresh greens and the wind is usually not as strong as it is in the afternoon. It's nice to go and actually count on that and post a good score."
Halfway leader is the 2012 champion Rafael Cabrera-Bello, of Spain, while four-time major winner Ernie Els and his fellow South African Trevor Fisher Jnr are alongside Willett, one shot back.
After finishing second to Rory McIlroy in the Order of Merit last season, Willett's name is being mentioned whenever there is talk of the Ryder Cup, which Europe will defend on USA soil at Hazeltine in September.
Asked about the significance of making Darren Clarke's line-up, the Yorkshireman said: "Yeah, it would be brilliant, but that's in September.
"There's a lot of golf to play before then, a lot of things that I would like to do outside of that before that comes around. If I can keep doing the things that I'm working on trying to do, then hopefully I'll be there."
Willett has suffered with back problems in the past and conceded that he had felt "a couple of twinges" during the recent EurAsia Cup and in Abu Dhabi last week.
"I think when you're at home and practising, you're not quite swinging at full pace," he added.
"You get out in a bit of heat and you feel you're all right, and step on a couple and you make a bit of a bad move and it just twinged a little bit. Again, I'm doing a bit of work on that every day and it's getting better."
Willett's fellow Sheffielder Matt Fitzpatrick, who began with a one-over-par 73, shot a two-under 70.
Starting at the 10th hole, he opened with a birdie, gave the shot back at the 12th, but instantly regained it at the next hole.
Two more birdies followed on his first nine, at the 16th and 18th, but he dropped a shot at the first hole, his 10th.
He moved back to two under overall with a fifth birdie of the day at the third, but suffered a third bogey at six.
Malton's Simon Dyson, who also started his round at the 10th hole, just made the cut on the one-under-par mark.
Having shot 68 on Thursday, he parred five holes in a row before shedding four shots in three holes, including a double bogey at the 16th.
He seemed to be turning things around when he birdied three holes in a row from the first - his 10th - but double bogeyed five, and dropped another shot at six before birdieing seven for a 75.