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Howells of Delight as David Leads at the 'Forest'
England’s David Howell shot his lowest round of the season to lead The Daily Telegraph Damovo British Masters after an opening a six under par 66 at the Marriott Forest of Arden lifted him clear of the group of five players.

Howell’s flawless round left him one ahead of a truly international chasing pack comprising New Zealand’s Michael Campbell, Scot Andrew Coltart, England’s Kenneth Ferrie, South African Trevor Immelman and Argentina’s Eduardo Romero.

Chasing his second victory on The European Tour International Schedule, Howell produced his lowest round over the Marriott Forest of Arden course to set the pace in the tournament promoted by his management company, International Sports Management.

“There are only a couple in England this year and the first one on the BBC so it’s a big event for us,” said Howell. “Added bonus that my management company runs it, not that makes much difference but it is nice to see everyone where. It’s a great start. It’s a massive tournament to win and that would be great come Sunday. But one day at a time. One great day doesn’t mean you are going to have another three great rounds but if I did play like that then I would have a chance. That’s the difficult thing, playing that well four days in a row.”

If Howell is to add to his 1999 Dubai Desert Classic title he must keep some seasoned campaigners at bay.

Campbell, back concentrating on The European Tour and his goal of winning the Volvo Order of Merit, dropped two shots on his way to an opening 67. Campbell showed his game is close to its best over the first 18 holes in Italy but slipped back over the next two rounds. However, a quick telephone call to his coach and some pointers over the internet, put him back on track this week.

Coltart, an ISM stablemate of Howell’s, also shot his lowest round of the season in opening with a 67. Twice a former winner on The European Tour and an Ryder Cup player in 1999, Coltart has struggled of late.

“It’s been a pretty poor start to the year, a terrible start actually,” he said. “But I assume it is like when you are playing well, you can’t keep playing well, and when you are playing poorly, that can’t keep going and eventually you are going to play well. You try not to lose faith and it is difficult because you don’t have a lot of confidence but you try and plod away, not panic and not change a lot of things and it should come back.”

Asked if a win was on the cards this week, he replied: “That would be fantastic but in the past few months it has been pretty poor. I am just starting to learn to crawl again before I can start walking, starting to feel what it is like to be in contention and having fun on a Sunday afternoon.”

Romero, who will be eligible for the Seniors Tour in July and aims to make his make his Seniors debut in the Senior British Open at Royal Portrush the following week, bogeyed his final hole, the ninth, to fall out of a share for the lead but 26 putts still represented a good return on the day.

Ferrie, winner of the Canarias Open de España last year, has been playing well tee to green for the past six or seven weeks and today the putts finally dropped as he too shot and opening 67 a score later matched by Immelman. The South African has also been unable to hole putts recently but after trying out Sandy Lyle’s putter on Tuesday, adopted the belly putter for the first time and found his touch on the greens once again.

Courtesy of www.europeantour.com  

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