DAVID Howell missed out on securing a place at the World Tour Championship finals after slumping down the leaderboard at the final qualifying event.
The Broome Manor pro started well enough at the Hong Kong Open with opening rounds of 68 and 70 but a calamitous 75 on Saturday, followed by a closing score of 72 yesterday left him 79th of the 73 players that made the cut.
Howell pocketed a litttle over £2,000, but that was £11,601 and just two places shy of the total needed to crack the top 60 in the final Race to Dubai standings.
The 37-year-old, without a tour win in six years, will take some comfort in the fact that his former Ryder Cup teammate Miguel Angel Jimenez became the European Tour’s oldest-ever winner with victory at the Hong Kong event, at the age of 48.
With a cigar in one hand and glass of red wine in the other, the Spaniard toasted a one-stroke victory over Swede Fredrik Andersson Hed.
Jimenez is only five weeks away from his 49th birthday, but he did not have a single bogey in the last three rounds and closed with a superb 65 for his third win at the event - all since he turned 40.
“It’s always an honour to make records and I hope it’s not the last one,” said the Malaga golfer, nine months older than Ireland’s Des Smyth was when he lifted the 2001 Madeira Islands Open.
The event also brought joy and agony for those fighting to keep their Tour cards.
The agony belonged to Welshman Rhys Davies, who had to stay 119th on the money list to avoid a return to the qualifying school, but came only 51st and slipped to 120th when Australian Andrew Dodt, having dropped five shots on the front nine, birdied three of the last six.
It lifted Dodt from 122nd to 117th, put England’s Richard Bland 118th and South African Tjaart Van der Walt 119th a mere £83 ahead of Davies.
Bland, who came 69th, and Van der Walt, who missed the cut, were not safe, though. There was still the South African Open to come later in the day before the issue was decided.
Leading positions in the European Tour ‘Race to Dubai’ money list after the Hong Kong and South African Opens: 1 Rory McIlroy £2,941,862, 2 Peter Hanson £2,102,999, 3 Justin Rose £2,042,356, 4 Louis Oosthuizen £2,026,874, 5 Ian Poulter £1,807,211, 6 Branden Grace £1,658,876, 7 Francesco Molinari £1,616,368, 8 Luke Donald £1,463,127, 9 Graeme McDowell £1,450,340, 10 Paul Lawrie £1,434,803, 11 Nicolas Colsaerts £1,351,521, 12 Lee Westwood £1,306,822, 13 Matteo Manassero £1,241,573, 14 Marcel Siem £1,061,519, 15 Thorbjorn Olesen £987,254, 16 David Lynn £943,964, 17 Rafa Cabrera Bello £931,809, 18 Bernd Wiesberger £815,485, 19 Jamie Donaldson £808,286, 20 George Coetzee £807,542. Others: 62 David Howell £342,394.46.