It’s turning out to be a case of if it’s a golf tournament on a Friday in the UAE, it’s got to be Danny Willett’s day.
The 26-year-old, who raced into contention with a second-round nine-under par 63 exactly a fortnight ago in Abu Dhabi, repeated the feat at the Majlis course when a seven-under par 65 – the lowest round of the day along with Brooks Koepka – catapulted him to tied third at eight-under par 136.
After plunging from a depth of 13,000 feet at the beginning of the week, when he performed a skydive with his wife to raise money for a breast cancer charity, it was time to zoom up the leaderboard for Willet, who is just three shots behind leader Rory McIlroy at the halfway stage.
After a round that had just one bogey and included a stretch of six holes in his front nine in which he made five birdies, Willett said: “The skydive was obviously a different way to start the week.
“But in all fairness, if you stand on the first tee, trying to hit a drive into the fairway, it seemed a little bit less nerve‑wracking than jumping out of a plane at 13,000 feet. You never know, that might have prepared us quite well.
“As soon as you jump out, you are looking down and all you can see is obviously the sea and surrounding area and you’re thinking, what are we doing here?
“Then after the initial jump, you start to level out and it feels like you’re just floating down. It’s an unbelievable feeling.”
On his position on the leaderboard, Willett added: “At the moment, it’s pretty good. I am playing really nicely and the consistency is still there from the last few weeks. We played lovely, so we are up there again for the weekend.”