Ryder Cup feelgood factor spurs Howell

David Howell knew he was going up in the world when he was paired with Samuel L Jackson in the pro-am section of the Dunhill Links Championship. Not that the modest Ryder Cup rookie from Swindon is overly fussed with such trappings. A 65 on the Old Course to become the halfway leader at 14-under-par, was more to the point.

Howell led by one stroke from Luke Donald, another team-mate from Europe's victory at Oakland Hills and also enjoying the Ryder Cup aftermath. Donald also had a 65, which he revealed was probably six or seven strokes better than his previous best on the Old Course.

Howell, who teamed up with Paul Casey for a vital fourball victory on the second morning in Detroit, admits the existence of a feelgood factor from the Ryder Cup, but feels his good form - he was third last week in the World Championship event in Ireland won by Ernie Els - is more specifically explained.

"I'm swinging the club well at the moment and I'm always confident when that is the case," he said. "It just hasn't happened very often in the past. Most [of] the guys on the team are feeling pretty good about themselves so there is a feelgood factor," he added. "Maybe I am walking half-an-inch taller just now."

But Howell has not won since 1999 in Dubai and another victory may be overdue. "I wouldn't say I feel an urgency to win," he said. "But I'm obviously looking forward to it and there may be a lot more relief when I finally do it. But my main aim is to play better and more consistently and I know I have done that over the last five years."

Donald's season, which started with his solid but unspectacular results in the United States where he has played since turning professional three years ago, has ended in a frenzy back in Europe with two victories and a Ryder Cup debut. From now on he is intending to split his schedule across the Atlantic.

"I plan on keeping both cards next year," said the Chicago-based player. "It was a blessing that I came over to try and make it into the Ryder Cup team. Things have worked out perfectly. I couldn't have scripted it better.

"Winning twice has given me a lot of confidence and helped me to play even better. There were times last year when I wasn't playing well and it can be easy to be intimidated by all the big names on the US Tour. But I'm a different player to last year and now I belong among the top players in the world," Donald added. "I'm not really intimidated by anything any more."

It was another easy day for scoring on the Old Course but no one did better than 65. Yet most of those on the leaderboard have played at Kingsbarns and St Andrews so have the daunting task of taking on Carnoustie today. Everyone has to play at each of the three venues before the final round on the Old Course tomorrow.

Graeme McDowell, who equalled the Old Course record on Thursday with a 62, had to go to Carnoustie yesterday and had a double bogey at the 18th, his ninth hole. The Northern Irishman then had four birdies in a row from the second but stumbled again with a double-bogey seven at the sixth. At 10 under, he was joint fourth but plays at Kingsbarns today.

Howell holed a wedge shot for an eagle-two at the 18th on the Old Course, but it would be fair to say there were more hysterical celebrations on the 17th when Jodie Kidd, model, polo player, motor racing driver and 18-handicapper, holed her third shot, from 70 yards, for a birdie on the Road Hole and a net-eagle. "I couldn't believe it and I wanted to stop right there," Kidd said. "It's up there with the best things I've done in my life." Her professional partner, Colin Montgomerie, certainly enjoyed the celebrations. "There was lots of hugging and kissing," he reported.

Kidd enjoyed the company too. "Colin is a really cool partner, the nicest professional golfer I've ever played with."

"I've got great admiration for all the amateur players," said Montgomerie. "They are out of their comfort zones but they do our jobs better than we could do theirs." Monty on the catwalk? "Don't go there." Quite.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Amis: Taken to task over rash decisions and ill-judged statements
booksThe Zone of Interest just doesn't work, says James Runcie
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home