DAVID Howell thinks his first two rounds at the Nordea Masters have been his best two days of putting in a year.
The Broome Manor pro picked up two shots on a blustery day at PGA Sweden National in Malmö to finish one under-par and make the cut.
The 38-year-old started brightly, holing up birdies at one and three. He got another birdie at the fifth but bogeys at four and nine meant he turned one under for the round and par for the tournament.
Howell improved significantly on his back nine from the first round, carding five shots less. Birdies at 11, a hole he found water at on Thursday, and 15, were punctuated by a bogey at the 13th. A round of 70 means not only will he definitely make his first cut in four attempts but also go into the weekend one under.
The former Ryder Cup man is still adjusting to changes made since working with former coach Clive Tucker last weekend. Those kinks were still in evident in Howell’s work off the tee but he was happy with the progress.
“It’s pleasing, you know, to put a round together and to make the cut, it’s really blowing out there. In all honesty I didn’t drive the ball very well, as well as I played, the driver didn’t play well,” Howell told the Advertiser.
“It was a tough one for me today off the tee, it is one part of my game that I need to work on, as windy as it was, it was down to me not having the feel for the driver.
“I putted very well, I’ve been working on a few new things, since Sunday’s lesson with my old coach, I’m really pleased with the way I’ve stuck with it, day by day it’s getting better, things are start starting to feel a lot better.
“It was my best two days putting for a year, and that’s one of my strengths, my putting, and when one of your strengths isn’t working that’s a problem, so it’s exciting that I’m finding my putts again.”
After a disastrous second round saw him miss the cut for third consecutive tournament at the PGAs last week Howell has gone to work on his swing which he admitted has been off for a while.
“I might have been working on the wrong things, I’ve not been swinging so well of late. At the end of the last year I wanted to carry on that good momentum, you know from that tournament win but in reality I’ve not been hitting it that well,” said Howell.
“I needed to put a bit of hard graft in on the right thing, changing coach is not an ideal situation but there’s some comfort there with it being my old coach Clive Tucker, and I’ll be doing some more work with things over the next couple of weeks.”
Howell tees off today five shots behind overnight leaders Alvaro Quiros, Victor Dubuisson and Oxford’s Eddie Pepperell who are six under par.
Wrag Barn’s Martin Sell narrowly missed securing his second Jamega Tour win of the season when he finished one shot shy of eventual winner Simon Lilly at The Bedfordshire.
Sell dropped a shot on his very first hole before recovering to finish his opening round four under par.
The Jamega Tour Order of Merit leader was in good form in his second round, carding a bogey-free three under par round to move to seven under overall.
Unfortunately for Sell, Lilly also went bogey-free during his second round, going six under par for day to take the title by one shot.