Leading The Open is dream come true for Danny Willett

Danny Willett was all smiles at St Andrews yesterday
Danny Willett was all smiles at St Andrews yesterday

Danny Willett says it is impossible to forget the ‘cool’ fact he is clubhouse leader The Open but he will take nothing for granted heading into the third day at St Andrews.

Dustin Johnson nudged in front but has work to do. The Sheffield golfer may not even be the leader at the start of the third round, with Johnson set to finish their second rounds after a rain-delayed Friday start. But the 27-year-old admits his status as clubhouse leader on nine under par was a dream come true.

“It’s really cool to be leading The Open,” Willett said. “It’s what you dream of doing. We made birdie and got into tied lead and John (Smart, caddy) said you might as well enjoy the next hole because you’re leading The Open – we’d only played five holes at that point.

“I’ve grown up watching this golf event. For us Brits especially, it’s the Major and here at the home of golf it’s even more special.”

First round leader Dustin Johnson did not start his second round until 5.50pm yesterday and is set to finish that off this morning.

And Willett insists he is braced for his name not to be at the top of the leaderboard at the start of the third round.

He said: “I would have thought, despite the conditions someone will go out and shoot a good score.

“There’s every chance someone could go out and overtake us.

“With the weather, plenty aren’t going to finish until tomorrow morning so we’re not going to know for a long time.

“There’s no point in dwelling on whether we are in front or we’re not.

“We’re just going to try to rest up well, it’s been a long day today and see where we are in the morning.”

Three birdies on the front nine lifted Willett up the leaderboard before a birdie three on the tenth took him to -10.

Bogeys on the 15th and 17th saw him pegged back but he recovered with a fine birdie on the last to finish on -9.

The elements have played a major role in the tournament so far and Willett is confident he can continue to compete, should the wind stay at its current blustery strength.

He said: “Hopefully it’s a similar kind of strength wind tomorrow and I think we’re in for a great weekend.”

Should Willett finish on top on Sunday evening, he would become the first Yorkshireman to win The Open in its 144 incarnations.