EUROPEAN MASTERS: Howell closes in on leaders
SWINDON’S David Howell was in buoyant mood after moving to within touching distance of the leading group following an improved second round at the European Masters yesterday.
The former world number nine shot four-under-par at Crans-sur-Sierre in Switzerland and at five-under for the tournament, is just five shots off the lead held by Stephen Gallacher and Thomas Bjorn.
That is a hugely positive state of affairs following Howell’s withdrawal from the Wales Open last week due to a wrist injury, a problem that had not cleared up until after his opening round on Thursday this week.
“I’m really pleased, there was lots of really, really good stuff,” said Howell.
“My wrist was no problem at all and I was certainly peaceful in the mind on the range and on the course because of that.”
Following a slow start yesterday, the Broome Manor pro came roaring back in fine style.
Teeing off on the back nine, Howell bogeyed the 11th but then picked up birdies at three of the next four holes, as well as at the 18th. Following a chequered start to the front nine, the Broome Manor pro made a final gain with a birdie two at the eighth.
“On the 11th I hit a three-putt from the fringe where I came up short and then missed a tiddler, but I then I got back with a birdie straight away and made birdies on the par fives (the 14th and 15th),” said Howell.
“I actually played the par-fives very nicely which was the difference from the day before, as this time I was three-under on the par-fives whereas on Thursday I was one-over.
“Then I had a couple of three-putts on two and three and that halted me in my tracks, but I came back with a birdie and then hit a beautiful seven iron into the eighth to set up another one.”
Howell admits he is full of belief at present and is confident that he can play 36 solid holes of golf over the weekend.
“We’re five behind the lead and are going to have to play some really good golf to pull that back,” he said.
“But we’re within touching distance and in good shape to have a strong weekend.
“My confidence is building all the time but it’s not like it was low anyway - I’m in a good place at the moment.”