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  • Danny Willett Surges Back: Impressive At Masters After Shoulder Surgery

Danny Willett surges back: Impressive 68 at Masters after shoulder surgery

Former champion Danny Willett admitted he was surprised after returning from shoulder surgery with an opening 68 in the first round of the 88th Masters.

Willett carded seven birdies and three bogeys as he returned to action six months ahead of schedule at Augusta National, scene of his maiden major title in 2016.

"It's unexpected, isn't it?" said Willett, who had two tears in his left shoulder repaired and cysts removed following the BMW PGA Championship in September.

"I had no idea what to expect, so yeah, it's obviously always nice to come in having shot a decent score and just give yourself that little bit of confidence inside and hopefully have a nice few more days.

"I played 27 holes on Sunday, woke up the next day, no pain, no nothing and that was when you think all right, even if you play bad I think it's still worthwhile taking the risk and at least pegging it up and feed off people's energy around here and hopefully have a few good days.

"Nice finish there to birdie three of them last four holes instead of posting an all right score of level-ish, which would, again, for me have been an amazing achievement, but to shoot 68, yeah, really happy."

Willett had feared he would be sidelined for a year by the surgery, but felt it was the right decision in order to give him the best chance to extend his career by another 10-15 years.

"I obviously couldn't lift anything for the first six, eight weeks and then in January it was getting to where I could do all right, somewhat swing a club properly, but the strength was there.

"It was only then, to know we're not going to re-injure it, we really pressed on in January, and we had a really, really intense few months.

"I had some great people around me, and we did some great work and put the hours in, and again, I could have shot 80 [today], but it was still nice to have the ability to peg up and not be in pain.

"From where I was seven, eight, nine months ago and previous, to be able to play pain-free is a pretty nice thing."

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