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It's great watching Willett shine on a big stage again, says Bjorn

 

By Phil Casey

Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn welcomed former Masters champion Danny Willett's return to form after witnessing it first hand in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

Willett reached a career-high of ninth in the world after claiming his first major title at Augusta National in 2016, but has slumped to 442nd in the rankings after suffering numerous injuries and a loss of form.

A missed cut in last week's French Open was his ninth in 12 events this season, but the 30-year-old from Sheffield added a second round of 70 to his opening 68 at Ballyliffin to lie just a shot off the clubhouse lead held by Sweden's Joakim Lagergren.

Lee Westwood, who will be one of Bjorn's vice-captains in Paris in September, was a shot further back following a 71.

"It's been tough to see somebody that good struggle for that amount of time but today was the Danny Willett of old and it's nice to see," Bjorn, who carded a 71 to finish level par, said.

"When you're in that situation the Ryder Cup and all those things are so far from your mind, you're working on a project that goes from day-to-day.

"Having two days like this is important, now comes the hard part of going out the next two days and enjoying it."

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