Howell 'gutted' after Abu Dhabi title slips away
DAVID Howell admitted he was struggling to be upbeat despite finishing in a tie for sixth at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship yesterday.
The Swindon star led the field after 10 holes but a nightmare 13th at which he four-putted from under five feet - therefore carding a triple bogey seven - put him out of contention.
Having not won on the European Tour since 2006, it was a bitter pill to swallow for the Broome Manor pro, who eventually finished the tournament on nine-under-par, five shots adrift of winner Jamie Donaldson.
“I’m trying hard to look at the positives but deep down I’m just absolutely gutted,” said Howell.
“I played beautifully early on, really aggressively and the first 11 holes were fantastic, although a bogey at 12 wasn’t ideal.
“At the 13th I hit a lovely tee shot and thought I had hit a nice second, but I just misjudged the wind and came up a bit short.
“I played a lovely bunker shot but then misjudged the grain and hit a poor first putt - it was one of my first poor putts of the week.
“The greens were lightning quick but you just can’t see a four-putt coming for lovely nor money. It was a devastating blow.
“At that point there wasn’t a man in the world that could banish any negative thoughts from my head. It was really hard to take.
“I was in that mythical zone that all sportsman try and get in, and for the bubble to be burst was quite surprising.”
Howell admitted he had been aware of the pressure of the situation, and stated that momentum had evaded him at the critical moment.
But he was at a loss to explain why the putter - normally one of his favoured clubs - was the one to let him down.
“I felt like I had two nice swings at it and hit a confident bunker shot and was still feeling good at that stage,” said Howell.
“Having just bogeyed 12 there was a bit more pressure on the original four-footer, but then the momentum just started to drain.
“What can I say? I missed it and the rest is history. They were four crazy putts, it’s something that happens once every six or seven years.
“It’s done. I can’t believe it’s happened but I’ve got to move on.”
Howell now turns his attention to the Qatar Open, which begins on Wednesday.