WGC-HSBC CHAMPIONS: Howell positive on Sheshan return
EUROPEAN Tour star David Howell will hope to draw on one of his notable past glories when he goes in search of a sizeable chunk of the $8.5m prize pot at the WGC-HSBC Champions this week.
The Broome Manor pro triumphed at the Shanghai event in 2006 when he held off the challenge of world number one Tiger Woods to take victory by three shots.
This week Howell returns to the scene of that success at Sheshan International looking for a high finish at the second event of the lucrative Final Series, a target he hopes will be aided by positive memories of the Far East.
“It’s nice to come back to somewhere where you’ve won,” said Howell.
“They have pictures of previous winners dotted around the course and in the hotel and my face makes occasional appearances, which brings back good memories.
“I’ve got a bit of notoriety over (winning in 2006) and it was a feather in my cap at the time because Tiger was seen as being pretty much unbeatable back then.
“I’ve drawn on that over the years and it proved that I can play my best golf in the heat of battle. It’s good to have that in the memory bank and to be able to remind myself of that positive experience.”
In improved physical condition following shoulder and chest problems at the BMW Masters last week - an event in which Howell finished 61st - the 38-year-old is relishing the prospect of taking his place amongst golf’s elite over the next few days.
“It feels like I had excuses last week, genuine ones, but there was not much to review really,” said Howell.
“My goal for these four weeks was to get in contention if not with 18 to go than with nine to go, and this is the second chance to do that.
“This is the biggest of the four (Final Series tournaments) because it’s a world championship event, the prizes on offer are huge and it’s against a truly world-class field.
“It’s been a few years since I’ve played in a world championship event, but I’ve done well in them before.
“Sheshan is a good golf course, it always was but it’s matured very nicely.
“It’s a bit more tree-lined than it has been in the past and there’s plenty of water out there, so it’s a strong test but a fair one.”
Howell was due to tee off at 2.30am GMT this morning (9.30pm local time) alongside Ken Duke and George Coetzee.
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