No panic for Danny Willett as he falls behind Rory McIlroy

Danny Willett was disappointed with his second round performance at the DP World Tour Championship

Danny Willett was disappointed with his second round performance at the DP World Tour Championship

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Danny Willett insists he will not be hitting the panic button despite falling behind Rory McIlory at the DP World Tour Championship.

The Sheffield golfer needs to finish above McIlroy in the final event of the European Tour season to overtake him at the top of the Race to Dubai order of merit.

Willett’s touch with the putter evaded him on a frustrating second day at the Jumeirah Golf Estates, seeing him close on -6, two shots behind McIlroy.

But he says there is still plenty of golf yet to be played and ample time to catch up with his rival for the European top spot.

“There’s no reason to hit the panic button ever,” Willett said.

“I’m a couple of shots behind him but there’s still two days left.

“With nine holes to go on Sunday, hopefully it’ll be a bit closer.”

Willett described his play on the second day – which resulted in a two under par round of 70 – as average.

And he bemoaned his lack of form on the greens for failing to rise beyond a tie for 13th.

“We played some good golf for the first 17 holes but we couldn’t hole a bean,” he said.

“I think we holed one reasonable one – a 15 footer – but apart from that we hit a couple stiff and that’s about it.

“We hit some nice gold shots and we’ve not really capitalised.

“Hopefully we can get it rolling over the weekend.

“I’m going to do a bit of work on the greens and get rested.”

Willett will tee off for his third round at 7.20am on Saturday alongside Chris Wood.

Five other players can beat McIlroy and Willett to the Race to Dubai crown and the man with the best chance of overhauling the pair made a strong charge on Friday.

Justin Rose needs to win the DP World Tour Championship or finish in a two way tie for second as long as Willett or McIlroy finish no better than in a three-way tie for second.

After starting the day tied for 28th, Rose fired a six under par 66 to jump into a tie for seventh on -7.

The battle at the top of the Race to Dubai rankings has threatened to overshadow the tournament itself this weekend but a good battle is emerging at the top of the leaderboard.

And Sheffield’s Matt Fitzpatrick remains in the hunt as he continues his superb run of form this year.

The 21-year-old – who can win the Rookie of the Year trophy this weekend – carded a three under par 69 to move to -7 and a tie for seventh place.

Had it not been for a run of three consecutive bogeys to close the front nine, Fitzpatrick could have been much closer to leader Andy Sullivan, who sits on -12.

He begins his third round at 7.50am with Martin Kaymer.