DAVID Howell admitted he failed to take advantage of his impressive start to round two at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship after a disappointing back nine yesterday.

The Broome Manor pro sunk four birdies in the opening nine holes having ended his first round one-over, although three bogeys saw him drop back to only one-under for his round and level par for the tournament.

His effort was enough to make the cut but, sitting nine shots behind leader Craig Lee, Howell regrets not making the most of his chance to put himself right in the mix.

“I played nicely but it was a bit of a game of two halves because I was going really nicely at three-under and it was looking really good, but I didn’t make the most of things on the back nine.

“I had one three putt and didn’t make any of the other putts I had for birdie and without doing too much wrong the back nine turned into two-over.

“That was frustrating because it looked as if I was going to shoot 67 or 68 and be, not so much in the hunt, but in the mix for a good finish.

“Ultimately it was a good Friday in many ways because we made it through to the weekend which is the first thing.”

Despite his slip on the back nine yesterday Howell is still hopeful of a top 20 finish as long as he can have two good days over the course of the weekend.

“If we can move forward both days you never know what can happen, although we are an awful long way from winning,” he said.

“Two good days and getting into the top 20 is doable I think and that would be an excellent finish having just scraped through the cut.

“I’m not getting carried away but it’s still within reach if I can have one really good day or two nice ones.”

Howell teed off for his third round at 3.57am alongside Jose Maria Olazabal.

  • The January Joint Stableford due to be played at The Wiltshire today has been cancelled due to the recent wet weather.