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Howell in contention after Italian birdie spree
THE moment David Howell knew his first round at the Italian Open was going to work out, was when he sunk his putt at the 12th.
After teeing off at the 10th and carding two straight pars, the Swindon star did not connect crisply enough with his tee shot next time out.
Fortunately, the ball avoided the water and the former Ryder Cup star was able to chip onto the green before holing the putt to save par.
“I got a good break when I fluffed the tee shot but came up short of a river,” said Howell.
“I managed to chip over that and hole the putt for par. That’s when you know things are going your way.”
Howell certainly distinguished himself during 18 flawless holes at Royal Park I Roveri in Turin, carding a six-under-par 66 without a single bogey.
That included four birdies in the last five holes and left him tied for second and two shots off the lead held by Swede Joel Sjoholm.
Fellow Englishmen Lee Slattery, Richard McEvoy and Richard Bland are also among the chasing group.
Howell’s display left him with a broad smile, especially given that he bounced back quickly from a brief dip in form at the KLM Open in the Netherlands last week.
“Apart from a couple of poor tee shots I played pretty darn nicely and had lots of chances. To close out a steady afternoon with a few birdies was great,” he said.
“I’m delighted really, I think it’s my lowest first-round of the year. It was good to not hit any bogeys because it doesn’t happen all that often.
“Hopefully I play well in the morning, it’s nice to be sitting on a good score.”
Howell is in one of the first groups out today as he tees off at 7.25am (8.25am local time) alongside Richard S. Johnson and Peter Hedblom.