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January 10 2013

9:15 PM

Howell III yearning for Hawaii win

Charles Howell III is in the hunt again at Waialae Country Club. (Petersen/Getty Images)

By Ann Miller, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent

HONOLULU—Charles Howell III might be the most frustrated man in paradise at this week’s Sony Open in Hawaii. It is nothing a sweet Sunday finish can’t cure.

Howell has been coming to Waialae Country Club for the PGA TOUR’s first full-field event of the year since 2002. He has won more than $1.85 million here, with six Top 5’s including a pair of seconds.

But he has yet to win here, and it is making him crazy.

“I like it here,” Howell said Thursday, after an opening-round 66 put him right in the thick of Sony things — again. “I don’t know why I can’t win. I wish I could sort of figure that out. But I like it. I’ve always enjoyed coming here since the first time. It’s a nice week. It’s an easy way to start, coming to Hawaii.”

The islands’ laid-back atmosphere gets blown away on the weekend when you are in contention, and Howell is almost always in contention here because of how well he plays on Saturday and Sunday. In 18 weekend rounds, he is 46 under, with even-par 70 his worst score.

A year ago he put himself in position with a Saturday 66, but could not catch eventual champion Johnson Wagner. Howell shot 69 Sunday, with 33 putts.

“I just didn’t putt very well,” Howell said that day. “I didn’t put any pressure on Johnson. But he played fantastic, hit every shot he need and played great.”

Howell was gracious, but clearly looked frustrated that day. He hasn’t won since 2007, and this is one of his favorite weeks. He wants to win anywhere, but especially here.

“I really like this golf tournament,” Howell said. “I would love to win this one. This one is right up there at the top. I’ve come close quite a few times now.

“Any other tournament I’d be encouraged, but here maybe I am a little bit frustrated. Listen, it’s still encouraging, it’s hard to ever say a top-three finish is not. But yeah, I would really like to get this one.”

He is back in position again, hoping his Hawaii heartbreak is finally at an end.

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