The 23-year-old Augusta, Ga., native shot 4-under 67 to finish at 14-under-par 270, two shots clear of world traveler Brandt Jobe (72) and Scott Hoch (69).
The former NCAA champion ended all speculation as to when he would finally garner his first professional victory, doing so in his 56th career PGA Tour start.
I didnt mind answering all the questions because they thought I had potential. But to finally get it over with and done with is quite a relief, said Howell, who pocketed $666,000 to guarantee himself a spot in the Tour Championship.
More from Howell on his first win.
Having started the day three back of Jobe, Howell took sole possession of the lead by shooting 5-under 31 on the front nine. His inward half included four birdies, one bogey and an eagle at the par-5 seventh, where he reached the green in two with a wedge and made a 15-footer.
Howell, however, bogeyed the 10th and 11th holes to fall to 13-under, one back of Billy Mayfair and Jobe. But he wasnt alone for long as Mayfair bogeyed the 12th when he left his bunker shot in the sand, and Jobe did the same when he couldnt get up and down at 13.
Mayfairs slide continued at 14. After hitting his tee shot into the rough, it took two more swings to advance his ball short of the green. He then chunked his chip shot and carded a triple-bogey-7. He shot 2-over 73 to finish in fifth place.
While Mayfair dropped out, Howell and Jobe moved up. Both men birdied the par-5 15th to make the Michelob a two-man chugging contest.
But Jobes second shot at the par-4 16th spun off the front of the green and into a valley. He made his second bogey in four holes to fall one back, and never recovered.
'I'm at 14-under standing in the middle of the fairway and I've got a ball going straight at the hole, perfect,' he said of his approach to 16. 'If it flies two more yards, I'm probably at 15-under and leading the golf tournament.
'For me, that was the difference.'
His tee shot at the last was bombed down the fairway, only to run into the unforgiving left rough. A winner on the Canadian, Japanese and Asian tours, Jobe couldnt muscle his second shot onto the putting surface. He made bogey, yet earned his best career PGA Tour finish.
'It was just a frustrating day because it was so close to being good and so close to being bad,' Jobe said. 'It was kind of one of those days.'
Hoch birdied the last to earn a share of second.
Two-time winner David Duval, who was a co-leader after rounds of 64-69, shot 74-73 on the weekend to finish in a tie for 25th.
This was the 22nd and final edition of the Kingsmill event, which could not find a sponsor for the next season.
Final results from the Michelob Championship