Danny Willett was downbeat last night after narrowly missing the cut at the Open Championship, writes Nick Westby.
Having squeezed in by just a shot last year at Muirfield before going on to finish in a major-best tie for 15th, the 26-year-old from Sheffield was hoping for similar fortune again yesterday at Royal Liverpool Golf Club.
But a second successive round of 74 left him four over par for the tournament.
When he finished his round shortly after 1pm, that total was two shots outside the cut mark which was expected to go higher as the blustery conditions continued.
But as the wind died down, the scoring improved and the cut never rose beyond plus two. It meant a first missed cut of the season for Willett, who had made the weekend in each of his previous 14 tournaments.
“Four over par I thought would be right on the edge,” said Willett, who missed the cut by a shot on his Open debut at Royal St George’s three years ago.
“I went out when it was at its trickiest. The wind was really pumping in the morning.
“I was hoping it would stay like that and a few people would drop back because there were a few struggling out there.
“I knocked it onto the par-five 18th in two and you think, ‘if can knock this birdie putt in then I’ll definitely make the cut’. I didn’t and it left me needing favours.”
Willett is next in action at the year’s final major championship, the US PGA at Valhalla, starting August 7.
Huddersfield’s Chris Hanson ended his Open adventure with a much more positive second round.
The 28-year-old Challenge Tour member played himself out of contention on Thursday, with a nine-over par round of 81 that owed much to a triple bogey on the final hole.
But he got revenge last night with a birdie four on that hole as he signed for a two-over par round of 74, that saw him finish his maiden Open on 11 over.