Eagle sparks charge from Danny Willett in Malaysia
Danny Willett insists he carried zero expectations in the Maybank Championship despite claiming a tournament win in his last outing.
His hopes will definitely have been exceeded after a superb finish left him on -6 after his first round in Kuala Lumpur.
The Sheffield golfer won the Dubai Desert Classic a fortnight ago before enjoying a short break from competition.
Despite his winning form, Willett says he learned a long time ago not to get his hopes up too much over hot streaks.
“The one thing I try to say to myself is keep my expectations as low as possible,” the 28-year-old said.
“It would be so easy to come here and think, well I won last time out so I can try and keep expectations high.
“I’ve done that before and it kind of kills you.
“We just came here doing the same things, working hard, hitting the same shots, trying to do everything as good as we can off the golf course so we can just relax a bit and hopefully play some golf.
“Luckily, I go out and shot 65.”
A chip-in for an eagle on 13th sparked a superb finish to the first round for Willett in his bid for back-to-back tournament wins.
He had made steady progress in Malaysia but his round roared to life in the closing stages.
A deft chip on 13 secured an eagle for Willett and moved him to -3 for the round.
He followed with birdies on consecutive holes and closed out with another to finish on -6, one shot behind leader Nathan Holman.
Willett is back in action after following his triumph at the Dubai Desert Classic with a week off.
The 28-year-old begins his second round at 12.10am on Friday, once again alongside Louis Oosthuizen and Thongchai Jaidee.
Fellow Sheffield golfer Matt Fizpatrick made particularly steady progress earlier in the day to finish on -1.
After turning round on level par, Fitzpatrick enjoyed a flawless back nine, adding a birdie to keep himself in the hunt.
The 21-year-old is out at 5am on Friday for his second round, playing alongside Darren Clarke and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.