Swindon's Howell in contention at Dunhill Links
DAVID Howell would have been happy to get round his first round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship under-par, as it is the Swindon golfer put himself into contention to challenge at the top of the leaderboard.
Howell shot a five-under-par 67 round Carnoustie, the third best effort at the trickiest of the three links courses in use at the Championships.
It was good enough to earn the former Ryder Cup star a share of 21st place, just three strokes off the lead.
With the kinder Kingsbarns to come today, Howell is well set to make a charge at the top 10, but he admitted day one of the event was all about not becoming detached from the pack.
He told the Advertiser: “It was a good start. Carnoustie is always the one you want to get through unscathed. You can come unstuck at Carnoustie so it was nice to post a good score.
“I limped in a little bit at the end but to only end up with one-over from the last four holes was a reasonable return.
“Carnoustie is just a tough course and of the three it’s the one which causes the most trouble.”
Howell was once again partnered with actor Hugh Grant in the pro-am event, and the pair shot a two-ball better ball score of seven-under to lie tied 44th, three strokes off the lead.
“He played quite well and he bettered me on two,” said Howell.
“We finished the two-ball better ball seven-under and we’re in a good position. If he plays solid golf for the next two days then we might make the cut. We’ve done this six or seven times and never made the cut so hopefully that will change this year.
“None that I can divulge. He’s always a good laugh to have around and like anyone who’s played the game he has his frustrations about golf.”
Howell believes today’s round at Kingsbarns offers the best chance to make a serious climb up the leaderboard.
“It’s all about the conditions and today they were pretty much perfect on all three courses,” he said.
“Kingsbarns gives you the opportunity to score low and it can offer plenty of birdies, so hopefully it will be like that tomorrow.”
The Broome Manor pro is due to tee off at 10.28am this morning.
Meanwhile, Wrag Barn's Martin Sell won the latest Jamega Tour event at the Essex - breaking the course record en route.
The Wrag Barn pro opened with a six-under-par 67, matched by Steve Surry and David Salisbury.
A second-round 70 left Sell tied with Salisbury at the top of the leaderboard, but the Swindon ace sealed the title at the first play-off hole.
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