DAVID Howell was one good shot away from a top 20 spot at the Open de France when a disastorous triple bogey scuppered his round.

A wind change, and what the Broome Manor pro admitted was a poor six iron, saw his tee shot at the par three 16th spin off the green and roll into the water. Howell’s second shot from the drop zone was tricky and again found the hazard.

Fortunately the 38-year-olds third attempt fell safe and almost looked like it could find the cup but by then the damage had been done. Howell’s round had gone from one under to three over, leaving him six over for the tournament.

Howell said the mistake was a big blow to a what was shaping up to be a good week.

“One bad shot in 32 holes of golf cost me a really strong finish,” Howell told the Advertiser.

“To mess it up at the last three holes in brutal but that’s the Paris Nationale, but it’s just one bad shot to blame.

“I hit a six iron and the wind had switched around and you had to hit safely left, I just tried to punch it into the wind. I actually landed dry on dry ground and it spun into the water. That left me in the drop zone and it was an awkward second shot that spun back and went into the water again.

“It (the round) was heading in the right direction and there are a lot positives but I’m not really able to focus on them now,” added a disconsulate Howell.

“At that stage I was in a really good position making lots of progress in the field. You can’t go right on 16 here, that’s poor golf and it’s a fine margin, one or two feet further left and you make par and finish in the top 20, but c’est la vie.

“There was a lot of positives again, the caddy and I feel we’re due a good result we’re playing a whole lot better and bit by bit we’re getting there.”

Graeme McDowell was the surprise winner at Le Golf Nationale, the Northern Irishman carded a four under 67 to finsihing five under and watched as leader Kevin Stadler went for five over on his final round to miss out by a shot.

Howell now switches his focus to Aberdeen and the Scottish Open before The Open at the Royal Liverpool.