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Howell wonders what might have been in South Africa
SWINDON'S David Howell had mixed feelings about his tied-10th finish at the Tshwane Open in South Africa.
The two-time Ryder Cup winner carded a five-under-par round of 67 at Copperleaf Golf & Country Estate on Saturday to put himself within three shots of the lead and in seventh place overall.
But yesterday a score of one-under was not as strong as some of his rivals at the top end, meaning he fell back to 10th.
Home player Dawie van der Walt was the surprise winner of the tournament, two shots clear of fellow countryman Darren Fichardt.
Howell said: “Finishing in the top 10 is never bad although it was a bit disappointing because I was in touching distance of the lead.
“Funnily enough I played the best (on Sunday) that I have all week. I felt a lot more in control of the ball and it was amazing I didn't come off with a better score.
“I had a couple of three-putts on the back nine but a lot of my long game was pretty darn good.
“My short game was a little bit shoddy, probably the opposite of the first three rounds.”
Howell had been searching for a first European Tour victory in seven years and although he might not have secured that, a finish inside the top 10 was nonetheless a boost in trying circumstances.
The Wiltshireman had only just recovered from neck and shoulder trouble and then he experienced visa problems when attempting to fly to South Africa from his Dubai base.
Howell's visa was back in the UK so the 37-year-old had to arrange for a representative of his management company, International Sports Management, to fly out to the Middle East to hand it to him.
He eventually arrived at midnight on Tuesday and was thrown into tournament play 36 hours later.
It did not seem to affect the Swindonian unduly as he carded 14-under overall, seven shots behind winner van der Walt.
Howell is next in action at the Avantha Masters in India in 10 days' time.