Steady outing for Howell despite wet 18th

8:00pm Friday 25th January 2013

By Ned Payne

HE MIGHT have found the drink on the 18th hole but David Howell was left toasting a ‘solid’ third round at the Qatar Masters yesterday.

The Swindonian’s misjudged pitch at the last at Doha Golf Club resulted in a bogey six, the only blot on a card that included five birdies.

Howell was tied 31st on six-under-par overall following yesterday’s four-under effort and although winning the tournament is feasibly beyond him, the Broome Manor pro was in positive mood.

“It was decent,” said Howell, whose 68 yesterday was his best round of the week so far.

“I played really nicely apart from the really disappointing bogey at the last. That was very frustrating, but apart from that it was really good.

“It was just solid golf. I had plenty of chances and drove the ball well.

“I still have yet to hole a decent putt, all my birdie chances were from short range, but maybe tomorrow will see a couple of longer ones go in.”

Howell is nine shots off the lead held by Bristol’s Chris Wood ahead of this morning’s final round.

And with victory all-but out of the question, the 37-year-old has targeted merely producing the best 18 holes possible.

He said: “I’m not going to win the tournament so it’s just about shooting as good a score as I can. If I move forward it will be a nice week.

“It was a bad day on Friday and I was never going to win having shot 73.”

Wood, whose European Tour near-misses include the 2009 Open at Turnberry, burst from two behind to three ahead in Doha with a spectacular third round of eight-under.

Ryder Cup stars Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer were among the four overnight leaders, but they managed only 70 and 72 respectively, Garcia after suffering the same fate as Howell on 18.

The other two halfway pacesetters, Australian Marcus Fraser and Portugal's Ricardo Santos, fell back as well.

Now sitting in second are former PGA champion Simon Khan, 2005 US Open winner Michael Campbell and Swede Alexander Noren.

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