Willett misses chance to make history, but shoots up the leaderboard in Seville

Last updated at 19:31 03 May 2008

A chance to achieve the lowest round by an amateur in European Tour history

slipped from the grasp of Yorkshire's Danny Willett today.

But an eight-under-par 64 in the third round of the Spanish Open in Seville was

yet further proof of what a rising star he is.

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Danny Willett

Willett: early nerves

World number one amateur Willett, having made the halfway cut with nothing to

spare, produced an eagle and eight birdies in the first 14 holes to charge from

59th place to third on his own.

Just one more birdie in the closing four and he would have matched the record

62 by Sven Struver at the 1989 German Open, but just as the television cameras

arrived, the 20-year-old from Sheffield bogeyed the 15th and only parred the

last three.

That meant he also missed by one the course record 63 set by Ignacio Garrido in

establishing a four-stroke halfway lead.

"It was a bit disappointing, but there are some tough holes coming in," said

Willett, who on his European Tour debut in March finished 19th at the Andalucian


The clergyman's son, winner of the English amateur title last year and a member

of the Britain and Ireland Walker Cup side that so nearly beat the Americans,

has already added the Spanish and Australian strokeplay titles this season.

The first of those earned him a place in this week's event and he added:

"There's a lot less pressure on me - I'm not playing for a mortgage.

"It's good experience. I want to be out here with these boys at the end of the


"I was not thinking about a 59 (he would have had to birdie all of the last

four to be the first player to do that on the circuit).

"I was just trying to keep it going. I was on a really good roll."

Behind him, Colin Montgomerie managed only a 74 to slip back to one over for

the tournament.

But Willett began with three straight birdies, while a 330-yard drive and

six-iron to eight feet for eagle on the ninth took him to the turn in 31.

Then came four more birdies in a row from the 11th, but he found the rough off

the tee on the 15th and caught a tree with his next shot.

Despite twice being in the rough on the long 16th, he had a seven-foot birdie

chance but missed.

And after holing a 25-footer for par at the difficult 17th, a closing 45-foot

attempt to equal Garrido's round just failed.

Willett's next few months will be spent mostly back on the amateur circuit, but

he will mix it with the pros again in trying to qualify for both the US Open and

Open Championship.

Darren Clarke eagled the fifth as he moved up to five under after eight holes,

but that was still 10 adrift of Garrido.

Swede Martin Erlandsson was in second place and Willett third, but all the

halfway leaders had yet to tee off again.

Next player to force his way onto the leaderboard was another Yorkshireman, Richard Finch.

The Hull golfer, a winner in New Zealand in December, turned in 32 and with birdies on the 11th and 13th was nine under and joint third with Willett. But he bogeyed the next.

Clarke was still five under with six to play and Ryder Cup teammate Paul Mcginley four under after 15.

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