Danny Willett posted his best result in America last night, with the fact he missed out on a top prize of $1.5m emphasising just how well he has adapted to life ‘across The Pond’.
The 27-year-old from Sheffield made it all the way to the semi-final of the WGC-Cadillac Matchplay in San Francisco before being eliminated but beat former US Open champion Jim Furyk 3&2 to claim third place.
Willett – who leads the European Tour’s Race to Dubai standings – defeated compatriots Lee Westwood and Tommy Fleetwood in the last 16 and last eight respectively on Saturday, and raced into a two-hole lead after just four holes against Gary Woodland in yesterday’s semi-final at TPC Harding Park.
Woodland had levelled by the turn and took charge on the back nine, eventually sealing the victory with a 20-foot putt on the 16th.
Furyk was beaten in the semi-final by world No 1 Rory McIlroy, who had opened up a three-hole lead with seven holes to play in the final against Woodland.
With four holes to play McIlroy had a four-hole lead and he went on to win 5&3.
McIlroy missed out on ringside seats for the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight in Las Vegas on Saturday because his quarter-final with Paul Casey had gone to 21 holes.
Darkness forced them to return yesterday and McIlroy needed just one more hole to beat Casey. Casey had been one up with two holes to play only to three-putt the 17th, while both players missed chances to win in extra holes before agreeing it was too dark to continue. McIlroy two-putted from around 90 feet on the par-five first for a winning birdie after Casey was unable to get up and down from heavy rough after his three-wood approach ran through the green.
Willett’s most notable win of the week was a 3&2 win over Westwood, who has become a valuable confidante since he started playing more in America.
“Obviously he’s been doing well over the past few years,” said Willett of Westwood.
“I think if you look at what he did by traveling a bit more and playing a bit more everywhere, it’s nice to play a nice round. It’s tricky to play against him in match play, but luckily I got through.”