IT WOULD have been just reward for a year of consistency, but on Sunday David Howell was denied a place at the end-of-season World Tour Championship.
The Broome Manor pro went into last weekend’s Hong Kong Open ranked 61st in the Race to Dubai, just one place shy of the mark he needed.
Ultimately, the 37-year-old slipped back a spot after finishing tied for 69th in the Far East, meaning he missed out on a berth in tomorrow’s lucrative tournament.
And the Swindon star felt a disappointing weekend at the Singapore Open a week previously was just as much to blame as a substandard last couple of rounds in Hong Kong.
“I’m a bit disappointed, I got close but had a funny two weeks,” said Howell. “I made the cut in Singapore but it just didn’t happen for me there at all.
“I had a poorish start but was pretty convinced I was going to move up and have a nice weekend. I was far from being complacent but it just didn’t happen.
“I finished in the middle of the pack in 41st which got me up to 61st in the Race to Dubai, but it was a big opportunity missed really. It was very similar this week (in Hong Kong), I played really nice the first two days and was right in position but had a really strangely poor day on Saturday.
“There was nothing wrong with the situation, I just hit the ball poorly and couldn’t seem to do a thing right and hit the good shots that counted.
“I birdied the last for five-over which was flabbergasting, I haven’t had a round like that in months and months.
“Similarly on Sunday I played really nicely but I had two three-putts and a four-putt.
“That was very frustrating, those are the moments you want to grasp and qualify, so it was a bittersweet end to a better year.”
In spite of his marginal failure to qualify for the World Tour Championship, Howell concedes that 2012 as a whole was one to be pleased with, having totalled prizemoney of £342,747, his biggest haul since 2008.
And having been dissatisfied with his game in recent seasons, Howell was delighted to be at the upper end of the leaderboard on a regular basis.
“It needed to be an improvement on previous seasons,” he said. “A year in the doldrums is no good whatsoever, it was a really important opportunity to try and take and I did that.
“It was a bit of a slow burner and took a while to get going.
“It was a year that was really built on week by week, grinding out nice results, plus the bonuses of fourth in France (at the French Open) and fifth in Perth (at the Perth International).
“My confidence started to grow as the year progressed and it didn’t come from a false place.
“I didn’t get off to the best start but that made what I did from May onwards all the more impressive. It was as good a run as I’ve had for many a year.
“I did what I needed to do, although obviously the lack of really high-end finishes didn’t help my final Race to Dubai position. I could have converted one more event into a top-10 or a top-five finish. But they are such fine margins, you can finish 30th, two shots away from the top 10 because everyone is so bunched.
“That’s one of the things I’ve worked on with my coach (Jonathan Wallet) - trying to convert lower finishes into higher ones.”
Howell now has two weeks off before he tackles the first event in the 2013 Race to Dubai, the Nelson Mandela Championship at the Royal Durban Golf Club in South Africa from December 6-9.
The following week, Howell is scheduled to take part in the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa.