Lee Westwood is one of those who will have to return in the morning.
“Amateur and professional golf are very, very different but it put me in good stead”, said Willett, who is ranked No. 39.
And with two pro victories to his name, the talented 27-year-old Yorkshireman is now eyeing a maiden Major.
Of the Open contenders, Paul Lawrie, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Hideki Matsuyama and Jason Day must all complete their rounds, while Spieth remains in the mix four shots off the lead with thee holes left to play.
Following his standout amateur career, Willett spent several years stateside, competing for Jacksonville State University.
Three-putt bogeys on the 15th and 17th cut the gap to a single shot, but Willett took advantage of the downwind 18th to drive to the edge of the green and pitched to eight feet for a closing birdie.
Willett will receive much more attention Saturday, something the guy with a “relatively normalish life” says he’ll relish.
“After five, Johnny [caddy Jonathan Smart] said look at the leaderboard, you’re leading the Open“, Willett told ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi about when it first hit him.
“You have to embrace it. If you want to be in the position where you’re going to contend Sunday, you have to look up there and feel like that’s where you should be”.
A delay of 10-and-a-half hours forced the R&A to extend proceedings into a fifth day for the first time since Royal Lytham in 1988. “Looking at the leaderboard, it’s still a little bit surreal”.
“But it’s always a work in progress and it’s nice that it’s kind of come off this week”.
England’s Danny Willett set the clubhouse target in the second round of the 144th Open Championship on Friday.
Willett was on the same Great Britain & Ireland side as Rory McIlroy that lost to a star-studded American team in the 2007 Walker Cup.
He had five birdies, and three bogeys in a round that took him to the 15th green before play came to a halt.
More and more spectators decided to follow his group as the holes ticked by, mainly because he was giving the impression he was going nowhere after holing two decent sized putts on nine and ten for back to back birdies.
The elements have played a major role in the tournament so far and Willett is confident he can continue to compete, should the wind stay at its current blustery strength.
His 66-69 was replete with a birdie on the final hole after he made bogey at the Road Hole. It’s been a tough, frustrating day.
“We’re just going to try to rest up well, it’s been a long day today and see where we are in the morning”. “I just had a text message off my mum saying, ‘well done, you’ve made the cut“, he said, laughing.
The whole of Yorkshire hopes so, knowing the Open has never had a champion hail from that part of the world.