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After cracking driver, Danny Willett contending again at Masters with 3-wood

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – Augusta National is playing even longer and softer for a guy like Danny Willett.

But that’s his choice. He’s attacking it with only a 3-wood.

After cracking the head of his driver in the first round, Willett, the 2016 Masters champion, rolled with just his 3-wood for the second round – and isn’t sure if he’ll even put the big stick back in the bag for the weekend.

“We’re going to have a little look, but I’m pretty happy that if it’s not something that really, really stands out, we’ll end up just playing as we have done today,” said Willett, who shot a second-round 66 and is at 7-under 137, two shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things where if you feel more comfortable with the 3-wood that we’ve had for a long time now, and you put a better swing on it if you’re not sure about a driver, it’s maybe not worth it. So, we’ll just have to wait and see.”

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Willett cracked the face of his driver on the 17th hole Friday morning. Though he has a spare head, he didn’t like what he saw on the range and decided to go without it.

On the two holes that were used to calculate driving distance, Willett still hit his 3-wood an average of 279 yards on Friday. For the week, he’s ranked 60th in the field (out of 91), at 283.9 yards a pop.

Even with a full compliment of clubs, this is a course Willett tends to attack mostly with 3-wood. “This place, for me, has always been a second-shot golf course,” he said. With how receptive some of the greens are, he’s still able to hold, say, a 6-iron into the green, despite a 30-yard loss in distance.

“In years’ past, that would have been a real big disadvantage,” he said.

Has he ever broken a driver before during competition?

“A couple times, unfortunately,” he said, “and I don’t even hit it that hard. It’s just that I don’t like tinkering. That driver is probably three years old, so that’s the only problem with not liking to change all the time is that sooner or later something like that might happen.”

Like in the middle of the Masters.