Danny Willett on brink of big-time

A GOLFER who learned his game in Rotherham is finally on the brink of a big professional breakthrough after the best performance of his career.

Danny Willett, of Thrybergh-based Rotherham Golf Club, came fifth in the PGA Championship at Wentworth last weekend, pocketing a cool £164,000 in prizemoney.

Of equal importance to the 22-year-old is that he is now getting national recognition as one of the best up-and-and-coming young players in the game.

His tremendous opening round of 65 underlined that and Willett even led the tournament at one stage before Simon Khan came through to scoop the £640,000 first prize.

Willett signed off with a stunning 20 foot birdie putt on the final hole.

He said: "I had good coverage with the tournament being in England, being on television and with a lot of people from Yorkshire to cheer me on.

"I've got my name out there and it's been a great experience for me."

A regular winner of senior and junior titles at Rotherham, Willett first hit the headlines when he became Yorkshire Amateur Champion and National Amateur Champion.

A couple of years ago he bit the bullet and turned pro, battling through the tough Tour School and making steady progress on the European Tour, finishing 59th on the money list last year.

While never managing a head-turning performance, a string of top-ten finishes were enough to earn him a place in the lucrative end-of-season Dubai World Championship.

This year Willett has matured still further and his performance at Wentworth, showing a winning mix of power and subtlety, even drew comments from legendary BBC commentator Peter Alliss.

Closing in on the world top 100, Willett's next goal is to qualify for the US Open.