Craig Howie ruing 'gym mishap' after first missed cut and two withdrawals

Craig Howie’s first missed cut as a full DP World Tour card holder stemmed from a gym session that he’s now regretting after also withdrawing from this week’s event in Belgium.

The Peebles player suffered his first disappointment since stepping up from the Challenge Tour at the end of last season as he bowed out early in the Betfred British Masters at The Belfry.

That came after he’d pulled out of the Catalunya Championship before the opening round the previous week and now he’s also sitting out the Soudal Open, which starts in Antwerp on Thursday.

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“I had a total mishap in the gym on the Tuesday night during the Catalunya Championship,” said Howie. “I was doing some strength testing with the DP World Tour strength coach and I probably did an exercise that I shouldn’t have done.

“I woke up the next morning and my forearms were fried to bits and I couldn’t really grip a club. It was painful and it wasn’t good.

“I tried to warm up on the Thursday and, while I could maybe have played, it would have been at just 50 per cent and PGA Catalunya is a course where you need to proper ball-striking.

“I was concerned that if I was in the rough I’d just be chipping it up, so I thought it was sensible to withdraw from that event.

“I flew home on the Friday and was in a lot of pain. It got better on Saturday and Sunday and when I drove down to The Belfry last Monday I wasn’t sure how it was going to be.”

Craig Howie made the cut in his first six events as a full card holder on the DP World Tour. Picture: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images.

Feeling that he could give it a go in the £1.85 million event, Howie found himself heading home on Friday night after rounds of 74-73 and, subsequently, decided to skip the trip to Belgium.

“I was under-prepared for last week as I hadn’t been able to do the practice I wanted for about a week,” he added.

“I then withdrew from the Soudal Open over the weekend. My wrist is pain free, which is a positive, but it still feels weak. The season is long, so I need to make sure I’m 100 per cent for a busy summer.”

Included in that run of six cuts was a tie for 12th behind compatriot and fellow Challenge Tour graduate Ewen Ferguson in the Qatar Masters.

“I’m pretty pleased with the first six events of the year,” said Howie. “I feel comfortable, which is probably the most positive thing I can take from it all.

“I think what has helped is that I played about 20 events on the main tour in the two Covid-hit years, so when I came out this year I didn’t feel out of my depth.

“I felt prepared and felt as though this is where I should be playing, so that kind of mindset has been good and then making six cuts in a row confirms that I should be playing at this level.”

Fresh from tying for third at The Belfry, Connor Syme spearheads a seven-strong Scottish contingent at Rinkven International that also includes Ferguson, Stephen Gallacher, David Law, Marc Warren, David Drysdale and Grant Forrest.

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