Great finish in Austria – now it’s a fresh start

A pandemic-induced four-month break from competitive golf proved something of a two-headed beast for Peebles player Craig Howie.

Craig Howie plays a tee shot at the Austrian Open (picture by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Craig Howie plays a tee shot at the Austrian Open (picture by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

The talented Borderer bounced back to action recently on the revived European Tour with a superb joint fourth-placed finish in the Austrian Open.

But, although he had been well rested, tournament rustiness caught up with the 25-year-old, as he unfortunately failed to make the midway cut the following week in the co-sanctioned Euram Bank Open event at Adamstal, also in Austria.

Craig reckoned hurling himself back into contention after such a long hiatus had probably taken a lot out of him mentally – but he regarded the whole adventure as a good learning experience and one on which he can hopefully continue to build his game.

The Challenge Tour player has been reasonably happy with his form so far in 2020, with a couple of good showings in South Africa, bolstered by his Austrian Open success.

Last year, by his own admission, he struggled for good form – but he also looks upon that now as a good learning curve, while he has the confidence boost of knowing he can compete with the best on the European Tour circuit.

Craig has another ‘rest period’ coming up – the disrupted Challenge Tour schedule means he may not compete again until September, with two tournaments in Ireland and one in Portugal.

But he plans to use the time wisely.

“I have that little bit of extra knowledge of what works and what doesn’t for me, and it all kind of just goes into the learning experience,” he said.

“I am constantly working on things with my coach. There are areas of my game which the two weeks in Austria kind of showed I need to keep improving on.

“I’ll keep practising at home on a few swing changes and getting things ready for September.

“It’s true I had a great finish last week but there is a lot more I can improve on and I’ve just got to keep working away.”

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