Willett rescues par to remedy his stiff neck

Danny Willett.
Danny Willett.
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Yorkshireman Danny Willett was able to laugh off a stiff neck and shoulder, and an amateur-like shank at his last hole, as he maintained his share of the lead at the BMW International Open in Cologne.

The 26-year-old Sheffielder saw his 155-yard approach to the ninth – the last of his second round – veer wildly off to the right, narrowly clearing the water guarding the adjacent 18th green and coming up just short of the putting surface.

From there the 2012 champion saved par to keep a bogey off his card as he finished with a 68 – matched by playing partner and co-leader Rafa Cabrera-Bello – to post 12 under for 36 holes.

They were later joined by another Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal and Argentinian Emiliano Grillo.

“Twelve under was a great score for two days and the shoulder was good early on,” said Willett, who missed Wednesday’s pro-am because of his neck problem.

“I completely forgot to take any pills after nine holes and I could feel it in the last few holes.

“The only thing you can do is laugh as it (the shank), it is not something that happens very often.”

Cabrera-Bello’s round was not without incident either as he called a penalty on himself for a double-hit at the par-five seventh after clipping the ball twice hitting out of the greenside rough, resulting in his only bogey of the day.

Larrazabal, winner in 2011, shot a best of the day 63 which was matched by Wirral golfer Paul Waring, who narrowly missed a birdie putt at the last to close on nine under. Argentinian Grillo was five under through 11 holes but finished with a 66, although that was still good enough for a share of top spot. US Open champion and home favourite Martin Kaymer, on his first appearance since winning his second major at Pinehurst earlier this month, missed the cut after a 73 left him one over. Denmark’s Andreas Harto, who in 14 events this season has yet to win a single euro in prize money, made his first cut of the year after a round of 66 moved him to within two of the leaders. Three shots off Willett is Malton’s Simon Dyson, after rounds of 69 and 66, but Harrogate’s John Parry, following scores of 74 and 80, missed the cut.