Danny comes back down to earth, but breakthrough opens doors
Star pupil Danny Willett has had to come back down to earth following his debut win on the European Tour, said his coach Graham Walker, head professional at The Oaks Golf Club, near Bubwith.
But he was nevertheless delighted at his breakthrough achieved at the BMW International Open in Cologne, Germany, on his 106th attempt since turning pro.
The Sheffield player from Rotherham Golf Club was widely expected to enter the winners’ circle much sooner after achieving World No 1 status as an amateur and, after 19 top-ten finishes, he must have been getting frustrated and admitted that he had been struggling mentally.
Graham (pictured left), who coaches a number of European Tour players and is also now lead coach for England men among the amateurs, said Danny’s success was unfortunately not the best preparation for the Open as he had to tee off at Sunningdale next day for a 36-hole qualifier for which a 69 and 70 was not enough.
“Ideally he would have pulled out on the Monday, but he could not have qualified by any other means if he hadn’t played.”
And there are still a couple of precious places up for grabs at this weekend’s Scottish Open at Castle Stewart, near Inverness.
Of Danny’s win, Graham said: “He needed to do it. I said at the start of the year I thought he’d win, but then to polish one off is a great feat.” And it has opened a few more doors for him in terms of invitational tournaments. He was also pleased to see another pupil, Paul Waring, return from a year out with a wrist injury to finish a very creditable tenth in the Irish Open at Royal Portrush, which incidentally drew record crowds that will go a long way to back up its push to rejoin the Open Championship circuit. It’s been some sixty years since it was played there.
Ryan McGuigan, who lives near Portrush, now caddies for Danny which will no doubt help with tips on links playing.
Danny’s former caddie, Selby’s own Phil ‘Wobbly’ Morbey, is now ‘on the bag’ for Open Champion Danny Clarke, who is warming up nicely for the defence of his title following a good showing at Portrush, his home course.
Meanwhile Graham is of course chuffed about the recent appointment as regional coach for England Boys U16s of Oaks colleague Lysa Jones. “She’s done great and things are definitely progressing,” he said, adding that, as far as his own career was concerned, he was now coaching the men at England level after tackling the U18s and U21s as well as the B and A squad.
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Weather for Selby
Tuesday 18 June 2013
Temperature: 12 C to 22 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: South east
Temperature: 10 C to 23 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: West