Masters 2016: Champion Danny Willett's golf journey started in Wales

By Aled WilliamsBBC Wales Sport
Paul Lovell is head professional at Llangefni golf club on Anglesey

He's Yorkshire born and bred, but newly crowned Masters champion Danny Willett began his golfing life "in the middle of a sheep field" in Wales.

The 28-year-old won his first major by three shots on five under as 2015 champion Jordan Spieth crumbled during a thrilling final round in Augusta.

Sheffield-born Willett is the first European winner since Jose Maria Olazabal in 1999 and the first British victor since Nick Faldo's win 20 years ago.

It's a quarter of a century since Welshman Ian Woosnam won his only major at Augusta in 1991, but Wales can claim a part in the latest Masters drama.

Llangefni's pay as you play golf course, a former council-owned facility now run by a social enterprise, is a world away from the manicured splendour of the Augusta National.

Jordan Spieth hands Danny Willett the green jacket
Danny Willett receives the green jacket from 2015 champion Jordan Spieth, who had led overnight

But the nine hole course on the outskirts of the market town is where it all began for a young Willett.

"We used to go to Anglesey in Wales for two weeks in the summer and play the same nine-hole golf course three or four times," Willett said in an interview with BBC Radio Sheffield in 2015.

"I think the longest club you hit was probably a seven iron on this par three course in the middle of a sheep field."

Willett's mother and father, Steve and Elisabet, have retired to the island where their son's lifelong passion for golf began.

"He had his first golfing lesson in Llangefni and it's just gone from there really," mum Elisabet told BBC Breakfast.

"We used to come to Anglesey every summer and gradually Danny got better and better.

"We thought maybe there was something there."

Willett won the English Amateur Championship in 2007 before turning professional the following year, winning four times on the European Tour before his Masters triumph.

Llangefni's resident professional, Paul Lovell, was the man who gave Willett his first ever golf lesson and keenly followed the Yorkshireman's progress at the Masters.

"I was at home watching, burning the midnight candle and saw every shot on the final day," he told BBC Wales' Good Morning Wales.

Llangefni golf course
Llangefni golf course had been threatened by closure because of local authority cuts

"I remember Danny and his father coming along to the course and wanting to learn to play golf.

"I gave them a couple of lessons and they purchased a set of junior clubs.

"I think he was about eight or nine and he enjoyed it. He looked a good little prospect."

Top Stories