Howell wins Alfred Dunhill Links after seven-year drought

AFP, GLASGOW, Scotland

Tue, Oct 01, 2013 - Page 19

England’s David Howell claimed his first European Tour title in seven years after beating the US’ Peter Uihlein in a playoff to win the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Sunday.

Having completed a final round of 67, Howell saw overnight leader Uihlein fail to sink a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole at St Andrews that would have given the American the title.

With the pair tied on 23-under-par, the match went to a sudden death playoff and 38-year-old Howell prevailed on the second hole when he sank a birdie putt from eight feet after Uihlein had left his own putt inches short.

“It’s incredible. The sun is shining and the crowd have come out,” said Howell, who had lost all four of his previous playoffs.

“I have never played in an Open Championship here, but to win a golf tournament as a professional at the Home of Golf is quite amazing and I am really thrilled,” Howell said. “I was really nervous all week and strangely less nervous today. I can’t explain that at all. I stayed calm and smooth under pressure and that was really pleasing.”

“It’s been a long, long road from the depths of despair. I have had a lot of support from people around me and this is as much for them as it is for me,” he added.

Ireland’s Shane Lowry and Englishman Tom Lewis missed out on competing in the playoff by a shot, with Lewis carding a superb final round of 64 and Lowry a 68.

It has been a dramatic tournament for 24-year-old Uihlein. In the second round at Kingsbarns he missed scoring the first 59 on the European Tour by inches as his putt on the final hole drifted left. The following day at St Andrews, he holed a 47-yard wedge shot for an eagle on the final hole.

“Hats off to David, he played great, made a nice birdie in the playoff and congratulations to him. He made more putts than I did at the end of the day,” Uihlein said. “I just didn’t make the putts when I needed and that’s the way it is.”