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Howell hopes for a 'momentous year'
DAVID Howell’s sights are set on experiencing ‘a momentous year’ as he returns to the European Tour 11 days after one of his career highlights.
The popular Swindonian secured his first title in seven years in winning the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship a week and a half ago, a triumph that propelled him back into the world’s top 100 and up to 12th in the Race to Dubai rankings.
European Tour action took a week out due to the Seve Trophy last week, which gave Howell the chance to receive physio on shoulder and chest strains, which he hopes to shake off in time for the start of the Portugal Masters today.
The 38-year-old, who will tee off at 1pm alongside former US Open runner-up Miguel Angel Jimenez and ex-Open champion Paul Lawrie, is understandably in high spirits and hoping to take his excellent year to the next level.
“The best thing about this week is that I’m off the back of a decent solid performance and the win was a big one. My wins always seem to have been nice ones and that’s really pleasing and the boost up the rankings is obviously great,” he said.
“The worst-case scenario is we’ve had a very good year and it’s always possible it could be a momentous year. It’s a leap in the right direction and I have to continue in that vein.
“Four days of good golf doesn’t make you a better golfer and to do it over the longer term is never easy.”
Howell is a self-professed fan of this week’s tournament at Oceanico Victoria and says that he is not the only person pleased to be included in an all-star threeball.
“There’s a fun feel to this week because a lot of family and friends of all the players come out to watch,” he said.
“For a lot of my friends that are coming over their second favourite is Jimenez and that’s one of the bonuses of being up the rankings. You get plenty more TV time which is good for sponsors and friends and family.
“With the added confidence gained from two weeks ago, there’s no stress in my golfing world right now. It’s just a case of making more good stuff happen.”
The Portuguese course poses no significant challenges provided players steer clear of trouble on a number of key tee shots, according to Howell.
“It’s a holiday resort course with four or five tee shots on it that you can get in trouble with,” he continued.
“Scoring is always very low and that will be the case this week unless there’s an unusual amount of wind.
“I’ve played nicely here at times but this is a course that all of us know very well.”
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