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WALES OPEN: Injured Howell explains Celtic Manor withdrawal
DAVID Howell’s Wales Open campaign came to a premature end yesterday after the wrist problem that dogged his opening round at Celtic Manor worsened.
The Swindon star, who has been troubled by injury throughout his career, had complained of muscular tightness around his wrist in the lead-up to the European Tour event in Newport.
Howell got through his opening round in five-over-par, but two double bogeys and three visits to the water told the story of a player struggling with his fitness.
The 38-year-old felt in better shape yesterday morning but a practice session on the driving range revealed in painful fashion the true extent of the damage.
Having completed just two holes of the Welsh course and carded a par and a bogey, Howell elected to retire with the cut a long way off and his wrist showing no signs of improvement.
“The arm and wrist just weren’t good enough, I couldn’t hold the club properly,” said Howell.
“I gave it a bash but it was clear I wasn’t going to be any good. “When I set out to the range this morning I thought that it was feeling a better than yesterday.
“But the more I hit the ball, the more the muscles tightened up and by the time I got to the first tee, it didn’t feel great, to be honest.
“I kind of thought that I was wasting my time and that there was no point in carrying on.
“It went the opposite way to Thursday really, it started out OK and got worse.”
The Welsh Open was Howell’s second tournament back following a six-week mid-season break from the tour.
The Swindonian’s immediate concern will be to recover in time to make next week’s event.
Howell is due to take part in the European Masters in Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland and he desperately needs to win significant prizemoney if he is to make the Race to Dubai top 60 come the latter stages of the season.
“Hopefully I will be fit for next week, you never know, but I’m sure it will be fine eventually,” said Howell.
“I’ve had plenty of physio on my wrist in the last few days.
“I think what I need to do now is give it some rest and not pick up a golf club for a while.”
There was further disappointment for another Swindon golfer, Martin Sell, yesterday.
The Wrag Barn man was playing his first Challenge Tour event in more than six weeks, the Northern Ireland Open Challenge, at Galgorm Castle.
Three-over-par following Thursday’s opening round in Ballymena, County Antrim, the 34-year-old did not fare any better on day two.
He managed a four-over 75, which included a triple bogey seven at the 13th. That meant that the former New College pupil finished near the bottom of the field and well away from the cut line.
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