David Howell (Getty Images)
Dubai resident David Howell set his sights on a DP World Tour Championship debut after moving into contention at the ISPS Handa Perth International.
The Englishman never missed a Volvo Masters, but since The Race to Dubai began in 2009 Howell has not managed to finish in the top 60 that qualify for the Jumeirah Golf Estates showpiece.
The former Ryder Cup star is currently 71st, but a bogey-free round of 68 at Lake Karrinyup put him in the hunt for the top-five finish that would move him into a qualifying position.
“I got off to a lovely start,” said Howell, a former Dubai Desert Classic winner. “I birdied ten and 11, and then I think 14 and 15. I was off and running really nicely which you want to do on your early morning start with perfect greens. Then I played very nicely after that, but finished with whatever it was, 13 pars or something.
“I think what did I shoot, 68, was probably the worst I could have done today, which is not such a nice feeling but it's always pleasing; it gives you confidence.
“I have been working really hard to make the top 60 and I've played really consistently the last two or three months without any particularly good finishes. I'm going to have to have at least one good one if I'm going to make it, so hopefully have a crack at it at the weekend.
“I live five miles from the course in Dubai, and I've missed out the last few years, which is a bit frustrating. So it’s all hands on deck to try and make it.”
Howell has filled in as a commentator during previous DP World Tour Championships, but insists he would rather be inside the ropes.
“That's been a nice second job that week, very fortunate to be able to do a bit of TV,” he added. “But as much as that's been nice, it's been very frustrating to not be playing. Ironically, I've never missed the season-ending tournament in my first 13 years on Tour when it was in Spain and then I moved to Dubai and I've never made it since.
“I felt for a few weeks now that I'm due another good finish. It's hard to win out here obviously but in position to do so after two rounds.”