Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Howell Birdie Blitz Ends His Long Wait

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Howell Birdie Blitz Ends His Long Wait

Article excerpt

Byline: By Phil Casey

Ryder Cup star David Howell yesterday claimed a long overdue second European Tour title in the BMW International Open.

Howell carded a final round 65 in Munich for a 23-under-par total and his first victory since the Dubai Desert Classic in 1999.

Overnight leader Luke Donald slumped to a 73 to drop into a share of 11th place.

Howell, who lost back-to-back play-offs in the British Masters and Irish Open earlier this year, began the final round a shot behind playing partner Donald and three-putted the third for a bogey.

But the Swindon golfer then embarked on a stunning run of eight birdies in 10 holes from the fifth to move into a lead he would never relinquish.

The 30-year-old Howell finished one shot ahead of former Open champion John Daly and Australian Brett Rumford, with Sweden's Niclas Fasth and Dane Soren Kjeldsen a shot further back.

Daly, who fired a final round 64, missed from five feet for birdie on the 18th, leaving Howell the luxury of par at the final three holes for victory.

A poor Howell approach to the 16th which almost span back into the water and a short par putt which "did a lap of honour" before dropping in, gave him a few anxious moments, but he safely two-putted the 18th to seal victory.

"I'm delighted," said Howell, playing only his third event since a two-month lay-off with an abdominal injury he suffered at the US Open in June.

"I had become a very consistent player but with a very bare trophy cabinet. I was getting fed up putting pro-am trophies and shot-of-the-month prizes in it. Now we have some proper silverware at last.

"When I won back in 1999 I wasn't ready to be one of the best players in the world, I didn't have the game.

"But now I think the next 10 years of my career are going to be the best."

The pounds 225,000 winner's cheque ensured Howell's place in the HSBC World Match Play at Wentworth next month ( with a first prize of pounds 1m ( along with Ireland's Paul McGinley who finished sixth after a closing 65. "Getting in the match play is fantastic," said Howell, sixth last week in the NEC Invitation in Akron. …

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