Danny Willett faced yet another nervous wait before learning whether he had earned an extended stay at a major championship, writes Nick Westby.
The 25-year-old Sheffield golfer is only appearing in one of the game’s defining tournaments for the fourth time, but he has made a habit of adding to the drama of the occasion by flirting with the cut.
He did so on his Open debut two years ago at Royal St George’s before ultimately missing out on the weekend by a shot.
He then walked off the 18th at Muirfield three weeks ago thinking he had again failed to reach the last 36 holes, only for the wind to blow on the Friday afternoon and his name to climb the leaderboard. Willett ended up finishing the Open in 15th, a result that effectively got him into the field for the year’s final major at Oak Hill.
And once again last night he was left not knowing whether to pack his bags and depart for the nearest airport, or head back to the range and practice for the weekend.
The Yorkshireman shot a level-par round of 70 in the poor conditions at Oak Hill, to add to his 73 on Thursday to make a three-over-par total of 143.
As he left the course, that score was not good enough by one shot and left him in 74th, with the top 70 and ties making the weekend.
But he had all afternoon (evening in the UK) to wait to learn his fate.
And even an hour after he had signed his card, his name had crept up above the cut line as it moved out to three-over, meaning Willett was in for an anxious wait.
That he had put himself in position to progress owed much to a more controlled performance yesterday, despite the heavy rain.
After shooting four bogeys and only one birdie on Thursday, the Rotherham Golf Club member, who started the day in 91st position, began hesitantly, bogeying the 460-yard par-four and he didn’t make a move against that until birdieing the eighth.
The former Yorkshire Amateur champion immediately handed that back on the ninth. But, coming in, Willett had birdies on the 12th and 16th against only one dropped shot to post a two-round total of 143.