PORTUGAL MASTERS: Howell bids to regain control
BROOME Manor’s David Howell says he must control the ball better if he is to challenge at the top end of the Portugal Masters leaderboard.
The five-time European Tour winner fired a three-under-par 68 at Oceanico Victoria yesterday which took him to five-under for the tournament and ensured a long weekend in the Algarve.
However, the Swindon star, who triumphed at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship less than a fortnight ago, admitted his chequered second-round card was a result of occasional wayward hitting between tee and green.
“I was up and down like a yo-yo,” said Howell, who was on the brink of the top 25 overnight. “I didn’t hit it particularly well, I hit a few too many poor shots which is where the bogeys came in plus one silly three-putt.
“The good thing was that when I did something wrong I fought back on the next with a birdie and ultimately you can never be too displeased with a 68.
“Going into the weekend I need to be a little bit more in control of the ball. I’m putting nicely but I just haven’t quite controlled the ball well enough.
“It hasn’t been disastrous, just a few loose shots here and there stops your momentum and takes your birdie chances away.
“Ultimately if you do that well then you are doing well overall because there are only two or three tough holes on the course and the rest are all birdie opportunities.
“I’m going to have to play two superb rounds if I want to be up there but it’s not all about winning, you try and take the opportunity for top 15s and top 25s when they come along.
“We aren’t too far away, I could just do with two good rounds from tee to green.”
Beginning at the 10th yesterday, Howell was two-under through six holes and one-under through nine, but dropped in a number of bogeys and birdies after the turn.
Then, despite a tricky lie in the bunker at the fifth hole, the 38-year-old splashed out and into the cup for an eagle three which revitalised his round and moved him well clear of the cut line.
“It wasn’t too difficult a bunker shot but it was the perfect recovery and got me going,” continued Howell.
“I had birdied the hole before and then made a nice par save on the next which set me up for a decent finish.”
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