DP World Tour: Connor Syme of Scotland and Dale Whitnell of England both finished the first round of the Cazoo Open at Celtic Manor on four under par, sharing the lead with Julien Guerrier of France.
On the Twenty Ten Course, where the Ryder Cup was played 12 years ago, the windy conditions made for a challenging opening day. Gusts were blowing and changing directions the entire time.
Whitnell, 33, who is pursuing his first DP World Tour Championship, was the only participant in the field without a missed shot. Whitnell carded four birdies.
Syme missed out on maintaining the sole overnight lead when he missed a putt on the 10th hole, his last after starting at the 11th. Guerrier made seven birdies in the challenging circumstances but had to fight for the lead after being two over par after four holes.
Eddie Pepperell, who was in second place at the Hero Open last week, was one of six men tied for second on three under par after shooting a 68 that featured six birdies, a bogey, and a double bogey.
Marcus Armitage, an Englishman who participated in the competition and was backed by Wales footballer Gareth Bale, finished on three under par.
Howell acknowledges the historic beginning at Celtic Manor
David Howell recorded a two-over par 73 to become the third golfer on the DP World Tour to reach the milestone and the youngest ever.
The two-time Ryder Cup champion has a distinguished professional career, marked by a remarkable level of consistency at the pinnacle of the game (he has played on the Tour for 27 straight seasons) and triumphs at some of golf’s most prestigious events and locations.
Sam Torrance of Scotland and Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain are the only other players in history to have reached the important milestone before Howell. Jimenez surpassed Torrance’s long-standing record of 706 events in 2020 and presently leads the all-time list of appearances with 717.
“I am absolutely thrilled to be joining two of European golf’s greatest legends by making my 700th appearance this week,” the 47-year-old said. “It has been such an honour to play on the DP World Tour for so many years.