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Last Updated: Friday, 8 October, 2004, 17:16 GMT 18:16 UK
Howell seals one shot lead
David Howell
-14 D Howell (GB) SA,
-13 L Donald (GB) SA,
-12 L Oosthuizen (SA) SA,
-10 J Donaldson (GB) SA, R Sterne (SA) KB, G McDowell (GB) CA

SA - St Andrews; KB - Kingsbarns; CA - Carnoustie

Ryder Cup star David Howell added a 65 at St Andrews to his opening one at Kingsbarns to take a one shot lead at the halfway stage of the Dunhill Links.

Howell, paired with Samuel L Jackson, birdied the first three holes and did not drop a shot to reach 14-under.

Another hero from Oakland Hills, Luke Donald, is second, with eight birdies and only a single dropped shot in a 65.

Ernie Els fired another 68 and is six shots off the pace, but two ahead of world number one Vijay Singh.

Els played one of the shots of the day at St Andrews to set up his fifth birdie.

Starting from the 10th, he pitched to an inch of the flag at the seventh, his 16th, and the ball spun back and finished a foot away.

His playing partner and father Neels produced a similarly memorable shot, for all the wrong reasons.

Around 30 yards short of the green at their final hole, he shanked severely and yet the ball scuttled along the turf and somehow found the edge of the green.

-20 SL Jackson/D Howell, C Heatley/F Couples

-16 J Kidd/C Montgomerie
-15 M Douglas/T Levet
-14 S Redgrave/P Senior, I Botham/I Woosnam
-13 I Wright/G Brand Jr, D Hopper/I Poulter
-12 H Grant/P Casey
-6 N Mansell/S Lyle

Amateur names first

He two-putted from long distance for a net birdie and the Els team are in a tie for 16th in the team event.

That is lead by Jackson and Howell at 20-under, alongside Craig Heatley, who had two eagles for the second day running in partnership with Fred Couples.

Howell looked a good bet to add to his solitary win on the European Tour, which came at the 1999 Dubai Desert Classic.

He finished in style with a chip-in through the Valley of Sin at the legendary 18th at the old course, St Andrews.

"There is just a touch more self-belief about me now," Howell said. "It's riding on a crest of a wave.

"But I do also feel I am a better player than, say, two years ago."

Report: BBC Five Live's Iain Carter

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