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Date added: 28 August 2005

Howeller secures comeback with BMW win 

Swindon star wins in Munich
David Howell
Munich Marvel:
David Howell prepares to roll in the
winning putt
An eight birdie blitz and a steely nerve has brought Swindon golfer David Howell his second tour title.

In a pulsating conclusion to the BMW International Open, played at Golfclub München Nord-Eichenried near Munich from 25-28 August, the 30-year-old Ryder Cup star shot a final round 65 to edge out former Open champion John Daly by one shot.

The win, Howell's first for six years, and only his third tournament since being laid up for two months with a muscle-tear injury, has lifted him to a career-high 22nd in the world rankings and up to 6th in the Volvo Order of Merit.

Howell's victory also secured his first appearance in the HSBC World Matchplay next month, where the first prize is the biggest in golf - £1 million pounds.

"It's been a long journey to get here," Howell told reporters after receiving the trophy and a cheque for £225,000.

BMW International Open 2005
"I've played some great golf in the last year, but getting my second win had obviously become a sticking point for me."

"I just knew if I kept competing and getting myself in positions to win, I would come out on top eventually. And today that's happened. It feels great to be a winner again."

Also celebrating were the members at Broome Manor golf club in Old Town, where Howell learnt his trade and still plays and practices, and David's father, Ray, who watched the action unfold on TV from his Swindon home.

David Howell
He's done it:
Howell punches the air after
out on the 18th
"It been a marvellous day," he said on Sunday evening. "Such a nail biter!"

"David told me that he was playing well and felt confident going into the last round when I spoke to him on Saturday night. He then looked so composed throughout the final day and played superbly. I couldn't be more pleased. The champagne will definitely be coming out tonight!"

David's brother, Ian, was also raised a glass to his sibling's success - but only the one. He was due to play in a key game for Swindon Supermarine in the Southern Football League on the Bank Holiday Monday.

Day full of low scoring

Starting the final day one behind overnight leader, Luke Donald, Howell gave no indication of what was to come when he made an unsure start with a bogey at the third hole.

That left him three behind the leaders, but a par at the fourth then settled his nerves, before the former-Churchfield's schoolboy unleashed the birdie barrage that catapulted him into the lead - and ultimately to the title.

John Daly
Last day duel:
Two-time major winner,
and 2001 BMW
International winner,
John Daly was beaten
by Howell into second
Starting at the fifth with a ten footer, Howell's long and accurate driving, crisp iron play and dead-eyed putting brought him eight birdies in ten holes to take the lead.

By the time he stood on the 14th tee, Howell led by one from his nearest challengers, American John Daly and Australian Brett Rumford, both of which were enjoying similiar purple patches of scoring.

But with the tension building, and all three players gunning for the extra birdie they needed to move clear of their rivals, it was Howell who held his nerve on the most crucial hole of the day - the par five 18th.

Consistently playing as one of the easier holes on the course all week, Daly and Rumford both missed makebale chances to secure the birdies they needed to bring them level with Howell, who was back waiting anxiously on the tee.

Knowing a par five would be enough, the Swindon ace then cooly spilt the fairway with his drive before playing it safe by laying up short of the green with his second shot.

He then hit a sandwedge to 15 feet before leaving himself with a knee-trembling two-footer for the win.

David Howell
a smiling David Howell with
the BMW International trophy
"I was shaking like a leaf!" Howell admitted when describing the putt on the 18th. "I'm just so glad it went in."

"It's been a great week for me all round. My putting has always been a strong part of my game but I'm also driving the ball better than ever thanks to a new driver [a Cleveland Launcher] I picked up last week, and I'm hitting more greens."

Howell, whose has finished second seven times since his 1999 Dubai Desert Classic success, went on to thank his coach, Clive Tucker, for his return to form and everyone who supported him during his recent injury layoff.

"Taking two months out of the game right in the middle of the season was very frustrating," he added.

"It gave me time to think about things, but the work Clive and my osteopath, Paul Morrissey, have put in have meant that I'm in better shape now than I've ever been."

"When I won in 1999, I wasn't ready to be one of the best players in the world, but now I think the next 10 years of my career will be my best."
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