Howell hits the front

1/20/2013 11:03:00 AM
David Howell   (Getty Images)
David Howell (Getty Images)
David Howell gave himself a chance of his first European Tour win for seven years as he overhauled Justin Rose during the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

The former Ryder Cup player, who less than three years ago stood 569th in the Official World Golf Ranking, caught the World Number Five with four birdies in an outward 32, then went ahead with another gain at the long tenth to reach 13 under.

Overnight leader Rose had birdied the second, but went from left rough to right rough on the fifth and could not get up and down to save par, eventually turning in a level par 36.

He was joined a shot behind Howell by Welshman Jamie Donaldson, who birdied the first and ninth.

Dane Thorbjørn Olesen followed two birdies with a second shot into the middle of a bush on the 469 yard sixth and double-bogeyed, and as a result was tied for fourth with clubhouse leader Branden Grace and Portugal’s Ricardo Santos.

Without a win since the 2006 BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, Howell wanted to keep the pressure on those behind him but missed the green at the short 12th and bogeyed.

Donaldson birdied the 11th and Rose the tenth, but the latter made a mess of the next, going from sand to rough and hitting his chip far too strongly, for a bogey that gave Donaldson the lead on his own for the first time.

Howell's bogey was bad, but what came on the 414 yard next was far worse and almost certainly killed off his title hopes.

He thought he had hit a good second, but it landed short of the green in a bunker and after splashing out well to four feet he amazingly four-putted from there for a triple bogey seven.

At the same time Rose holed from ten feet at the 12th to rejoin Donaldson on 13 under, two in front of Olesen and Santos.

Donaldson suddenly became the man to beat when he rolled in putts of 18 and 15 feet at the 14th and 15th, but a five footer from Rose on the 14th narrowed the gap back to one in what looked like a duel between the two of them.