Howell delight at 5-shot BMW victory

European Tour

Tournament: BMW Championship
Venue: Wentworth Club, Surrey, England
Winner: David Howell

England’s David Howell was tonight gleefully celebrating his runaway victory in Europe’s second biggest tournament – and much, much more.
Only winning a major or sinking the winning putt in the Ryder Cup could top the satisfaction the 30-year-old from Swindon felt after cruising to a comprehensive five-shot victory over Essex’s Simon Khan and a strongest possible European Tour field at the BMW Championship at Wentworth on Sunday.
The title, achieved with a closing 69 and hugely impressive 17-under par total over the toughened-up West Course, was worth nearly £500,000 to the man who already led the European Order of Merit by almost £140,000 when he teed off at Wentworth on Thursday.
It wraps up a second Ryder Cup cap for him – he now tops the Cup standings as well – and, perhaps most satisfyingly of all, it takes him into the world’s top 10 for the first time in his life.
“That’s marvellous – fantastic,” he enthused when told his victory had moved up from 17th to 10th, just ahead of his Ryder and World Cup team-mate Luke Donald.
“When I turned pro (in 1995) I just wanted to make a living. Even a couple of years ago I was striving to get into the top 50 and didn’t know if I ever would.
“I remember being delighted when I made the cut at the tour school and knew I would be playing on the Challenge Tour.
“I thought that was a fantastic achievement, but obviously things have gone slightly better since then!”
Howell had no expectations, though, of going as well as he did when he arrived at Wentworth for the tour’s flagship event.
The back twinges the former British boys champion started experiencing at the Masters led to him taking four weeks off and after returning at the British Masters, he skipped the Irish Open because it was still a concern.
You never would have guessed it just watching him, however.
One behind after an opening 68, he went three clear with a 65 and kept that advantage with a 69.
Any hopes Ryder Cup team-mate Miguel Angel Jimenez, his closest overnight challenger, had of heaping pressure on were quashed by Howell’s birdies at the second, fourth and fifth.
The last of those was made with a 45-foot putt and with Jimenez bogeying the sixth and ninth the gap went to seven.
A bogey on the 10th was no cause for alarm and after two-putting the long 12th he parred his way home.
Howell has now won more than £6million in his European career – and one other bonus of this performance is that he is guaranteed a return to the same course for a shot at the £1million first prize (the biggest in golf) in the HSBC World Match Championship in September.
That comes a week before the Ryder Cup in Ireland and Tiger Woods will be another of the 16 players on view.
Not that that holds any worries for Howell – he faced Woods head-to-head in Shanghai in November and not only held off the world number one, but went further away from him.
“I don’t fear anybody any more,” he stated. “I’m not the best player in the world – whether I will be is another matter – but I don’t think there’s anybody I can’t beat on my day.”
ALL THE FINAL ROUND SCORES
271 David Howell 68 65 69 69
276 Simon Khan 70 68 70 68
277 Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa) 71 69 65 72
279 Brett Rumford (Aus) 72 73 69 65
280 Richard Bland 73 68 71 68
281 Trevor Immelman (RSA) 70 73 73 65, Anthony Wall 71 71 73 66, Gary Orr 71 70 73 67, Andrew Coltart 71 72 69 69, Padraig Harrington 72 70 68 71
282 Garry Houston 69 72 71 70, Soren Hansen (Den) 70 72 69 71, Paul Casey 67 72 69 74
283 Jose Maria Olazabal (Spa) 69 74 72 68, Richard Green (Aus) 70 71 72 70, Maarten Lafeber (Ned) 71 71 71 70, Jean-Francois Lucquin (Fra) 76 70 67 70, Robert Karlsson (Swe) 69 68 74 72
284 Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 68 72 75 69, Steve Webster 71 70 74 69, Emanuele Canonica (Ita) 72 71 72 69, Retief Goosen (Rsa) 70 71 73 70, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 73 73 68 70, Ernie Els (Rsa) 69 74 69 72
285 Kenneth Ferrie 69 73 73 70, Peter Lawrie 68 72 74 71, Luke Donald 67 72 74 72, Nick O’Hern (Aus) 72 72 68 73
286 Andrew McLardy (Rsa) 67 74 75 70, Miles Tunnicliff 72 73 70 71, David Park 76 69 70 71, Angel Cabrera (Arg) 68 69 75 74, Niclas Fasth (Swe) 70 70 71 75, Francois Delamontagne (Fra) 69 70 71 76
287 Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha) 71 71 75 70, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 70 72 70 75
288 Michael Campbell (Nzl) 72 73 73 70, Simon Dyson 73 73 70 72, Paul Lawrie 69 73 73 73, Nick Dougherty 67 69 74 78
289 Ian Woosnam 71 74 74 70, Ross Fisher 71 72 75 71, Bradley Dredge 75 71 72 71, David Carter 73 71 73 72, Mark Foster 71 71 74 73, Jean Van de Velde (Fra) 75 69 66 79
290 Ian Garbutt 73 71 74 72, Ignacio Garrido (Spa) 76 70 70 74, Paul Broadhurst 71 71 73 75, Alastair Forsyth 71 72 72 75, Graeme McDowell 71 70 73 76, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 74 69 69 78
291 Jarmo Sandelin (Swe) 77 69 75 70, Colin Montgomerie 73 72 74 72, Phillip Price 69 77 72 73, Markus Brier (Aut) 70 76 72 73, Alessandro Tadini (Ita) 77 68 69 77
292 Phillip Archer 72 73 79 68, Jyoti Randhawa (Ind) 71 72 76 73, Steven Jeppesen (Swe) 71 74 74 73, Peter Gustafsson (Swe) 72 70 75 75
293 Simon Edwards 71 75 74 73
294 Graeme Storm 71 75 76 72
296 Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 70 75 72 79
298 Darren Prosser 72 71 78 77
300 John Wells 69 77 82 72

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