SAN DIEGO - At this rate, Charles Howell III is shaping up to have quite the 2013 season.
After opening with a tie for third at the Sony Open in Hawaii, Howell made it into a playoff at last week's Humana Challenge before falling to Brian Gay on the second extra hole. Thursday he again put his name near the top of the leaderboard, firing a 6-under 66 to join a tie for third, one shot off the pace after one round at the Farmers Insurance Open.
'It's exciting to get off to a good start this year,' said Howell, who has now begun his 2013 campaign with nine straight competitive rounds in the 60s. 'I've been practicing at home, and I'm ready to get going.'
Howell fared well despite hitting only two fairways Thursday on the North Course, traditionally the easier of the two courses in rotation this week. A strong short game more than made up for any inaccuracy off the tee, as he needed just 28 putts during his opening round.
'It's hard to keep the balls in the fairway on the North Course, and I knew that going in,' noted Howell, whose 2013 stroke average is now a remarkable 65.78. 'It's more about what side you miss them on, and I was able to miss them in the right places.'
After coming up just short a week ago at PGA West, Howell was quick to downplay any notion of fatigue entering this week's event.
'As any parent could attest, I have a 2-year-old and a 1-year old,' he added. 'That's fatiguing. This is golf.'