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Howell returns to happy hunting ground
DAVID Howell is feeling in a positive frame of mind as he targets another lofty finish at one of his favoured tournaments.
The Swindon star has had five top-10 finishes at the Qatar Masters since 2002, the most recent of which saw him end up fifth in 2011.
And off the back of a tie for sixth at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, an event he led 10 holes into the final round, Howell is upbeat going into the second Middle East tournament of 2013 at Doha Golf Club.
“I’ve done well in Qatar over the years and had a couple of chances to win it,” said Howell, who has roared up to 16th in the Race to Dubai rankings.
“It’s nice going to a tournament I’ve generally done well in coming off another good week and I will take all the positives of what I did in Abu Dhabi.
“I’m in good form and maybe starting to feel like I can win something, although sometimes it feels like an unbelievably slow process.
“I had a chance to win for the first time in a number of years in Paris (at the French Open in July last year) and I felt better than I had before, but not quite well enough.
“I certainly felt better (on the last day in Abu Dhabi) than the last three times I’ve been in the top five going into the final day. I would say progressively better.
“I took the golf course on and was right there, and that’s a big step in the right direction.”
The Qatar Masters has been running since 1998 and Howell has been playing in the tournament since that year, making him well-used to its challenges.
And the 37-year-old says a positive couple of opening rounds are critical going into the weekend in order to avoid the tricky windy conditions.
“Qatar is quite similar to Abu Dhabi,” said Howell.
“It’s another very big golf course with heavy rough but relatively big greens and if you drive it well, there’s a score to be had.
“It’s a course I know like the back of my hand nowadays because we’ve been going there for well over 10 years now.
“You can almost guarantee the wind will blow, and it can be a bit of a brute when it’s windy.
“One of the key things is you need to be up with the leaders going into the weekend, because it tends to be windy in the afternoon.”
Howell tees off at 8.15am GMT (11.15am local time) this morning alongside South African Jbe Kruger and Spaniard Jorge Campillo.
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