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BMW MASTERS: Howell rues three-putts in Shanghai
SWINDON’S David Howell felt several loose swings of the putter cost him the chance to complete a level-par round on the second day of the BMW Masters in Shanghai today.
The 38-year-old fired a two-over-par 74 at Lake Malaren which took him to six-over for the tournament and meant he slipped outside the top 50 in the first event of the European Tour’s Final Series.
Howell’s shoulder and chest concerns did not worsen which made it all the more frustrating that his touch on the greens - normally so solid - temporarily evaded him.
“The body held up well again and I seem to be getting better rather than worse which is really pleasing, although I’m not fully fit by any means,” said Howell.
“My swing was a bit freer and I was able to commit a little bit more. I played OK but nothing really went my way, I had two or three three-putts from long range which is quite unusual for me.
“I’ve had five three-putts in the last two days but the greens are fast and it’s windy so I’m not the only one dropping shots that way.
“The 11th summed it up. I hit a nine iron a few feet away from where I intended and ended up three-putting from 40 feet for a bogey.
“It’s frustrating bearing in mind my long game was what I was worried about with the lack of fitness, it’s a bit ironic. That hindered me being on level-par (for the day) and in a really good position.
“I didn’t really hole a putt or get any good breaks so I couldn’t get any positive momentum at any stage, and I ended with a fairly annoying bogey at the last.”
Howell also weighed into the controversy surrounding Joost Luiten, who pulled out of the event having played one shot, citing a shoulder injury.
The European Tour had previously ruled that members must play two of the opening three Final Series tournaments in order to be eligible for the World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Luiten’s one shot meant he featured at the event and his playing partner, world number 14 Luke Donald, described the situation as ‘strange’.
Howell, who sits on the European Tour’s tournament committee, said: “Without going into the politics of it all, I understand what the Tour were trying to do and what Joost was trying to do. Somewhere in the middle a compromise should have been negotiated.
“It probably should have been dealt with in a different way. It’s not something anyone really contemplated well enough.
“If I was highly injured I think I’d be doing the same as Joost, but it’s a situation that will change in the coming years.”
Howell is due to begin his third round at 1.10am tomorrow alongside Thomas Aiken and Hao-tong Li.
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