Top-25 finish pleases Howell
A 10TH cut in a row, a clutch of birdies and plenty of Middle East sunshine made it a thoroughly decent few days for David Howell at the Qatar Masters.
The Swindon man eventually finished in a tie for 22nd on nine-under-par at Doha Golf Club following Saturday's final round, in which he carded a three-under-par 69.
But for a wayward tee shot at the 15th, a top-10 finish for the second week in a row would have been a realistic prospect.
Gains at the opening two holes were followed by another birdie at seven, before the Broome Manor pro stuttered to a double bogey on 15.
However, a three and two at the 16th and 17th saw him immediately claw back two shots to finish strongly.
“I played really nicely,” said Howell. “I got off to a lovely start and birdied the first two holes and at that point I was hoping for something low.
“I lost my momentum on the 10th when I knocked it on in two and three-putted from 15 feet to par, so that was a golden opportunity missed.
“I then hit a terrible tee shot on the 15th and had to pitch out onto the fairway, so that messed me up. It was a bitter blow with four to go. “But I bounced back really well and moved forward a bit in the last few holes.”
Howell’s finish inside the top 25 is his third in a row on the European Tour, meeting a personal target and leaving him content.
“The top 25 is one my markers that I look to try and achieve in a week and I did that,” he said.
“It was so tightly-bunched and two or three shots better would have made a big difference, but everyone could say the same thing.
“Two shots off the top 10 was a solid week again. I didn't hole too many putts but it was good, solid golf.”
Bristol’s Chris Wood secured his first European Tour title in dramatic fashion when it looked as if he could be heading into a three-way play-off with former world number three Sergio Garcia and South African George Coetzee.
Wood hit his second shot on 18 to within 10 feet of the pin and then sunk an eagle to win the tournament by a single shot.
The focus of Dubai resident Howell now turns to his ‘home’ tournament, the Dubai Desert Classic, which begins at the Emirates Golf Club on Thursday.
Howell seized his first European Tour victory at the tournament in 1999, although in that year it was played at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club.