GOLF: The seven-year itch is at an end

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: David Howell celebrates his win with amateur playing partner, actor Hugh Grant David Howell celebrates his win with amateur playing partner, actor Hugh Grant

WILTSHIRE’S David Howell savoured his comeback from the depths of despair, ending a seven-year victory drought, after capturing the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews on Sunday.

Howell clinched victory, and a cheque for €589,561, by defeating American Peter Uihlein with a birdie on the second extra hole after both men had finished on 23 under par in the pro-am event, in which he was partnered by the actor Hugh Grant.

It ended Howell’s 100 per cent losing record in four previous play-offs and a victory drought stretching back to the 2006 BMW PGA Championship.

Two-time Ryder Cup winner Howell revealed some dubious decisions he had made, both on and off the course, contributed to his drastic slide down the world ranking from a career-high of ninth place in 2006.

After making his Ryder Cup debut in 2004, Howell finished seventh and third in the Money List over the next two years, only to lose his way in subsequent seasons.

But, with the encouragement of wife Emily, who is expecting twins in December, and coach Jonathan Wallet, the 38-year-old is now hopeful of recapturing his former glories.

“It’s been an interesting seven years.

“We’ve talked a lot about the ups and downs of it all, and the downs were really pretty low,’’ he said.

“I lost my way in life and on the course, as well, but obviously it’s a really sweet moment and life off the course has never been better. To finally win a massive championship really seals things for me.

  •  NORTH Wilts’ Jack Charman completed the double of county strokeplay and matchplay titles with victory in the latter event at Ogbourne Downs on Sunday.

Wiltshire ace Charman, from Devizes, defeated Kendle McCrossan (Wrag Barn) 3&1 in the 18-hole final to lift his second major prize of the season.

Charman, 19, saw off Broome Manor’s Tom Ruddle 2&1 in the morning semi final, having captured the county championship at Wrag Barn back in May.

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