SWINDON pro David Howell remains in contention for qualification for the end-of-season World Tour Championship in Dubai after a solid second round at the Hong Kong Open.

The Broome Manor player went into the event just one place shy of the top 60 berth he needs to qualify for the event, and completed his second set of 18 holes level par to leave him tied for 20th on two under, while leader Michael Campbell sits on nine under.

The New Zealander will climb above Howell in the Race to Dubai if he holds his position and picks up the €260,638 first prize, but if Howell can continue his steady progress he can keep himself in contention going into the final round.

Richard Finch and Alejandro Canizares are two players Howell can overhaul if he can push his way up the leaderboard, with neither player in a threatening position either in Hong Kong or in the South African Open Championship which is also going into the third round today.

Ireland’s Peter Lawrie went into the event one place above Howell in the Race to Dubai, but sits eighth in the standings to put him on the brink of qualification.

He said: “I came into the week in 60th position, which could be fortunate or unfortunate, depending on what way you look at it. I’ve been moving down the rankings all the time over the last five weeks, after not getting into tournaments. So it’s quite difficult to get that out of your head this week.

“As I said to a few people at home, I have to try to play mind games with myself this week and try to get past it. I was in a similar position last year and managed to make Dubai, so hopefully we can get there again.

“I attempted to work out what I would need to guarantee my place when I got here on Monday, but I ripped it up straightaway and said to myself: “Don’t even go there, Peter”.

“Apart from anything, it’s complicated by the fact that South Africa finishes after us. So you could be on the plane to Dubai thinking you’ve made it, and all of a sudden you find out you haven’t. But we’ll just work away and see where it takes us.”

Howell began his third round at 3.20am this morning alongside Andrew Dodt of Australia, who himself is also tied for 20th alongside Simon Dyson and Thongchai Jaidee.