Howell raises game in fall

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ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. --- Charles Howell might merit a new nickname: Mr. Fall Series.

Charles Howell: Augusta native shot a course-record 62 on Sunday, his best round of the year, to finish tied for sixth.  Alan Diaz/Associated Press
Alan Diaz/Associated Press
Charles Howell: Augusta native shot a course-record 62 on Sunday, his best round of the year, to finish tied for sixth.

Moments after closing out a course-record 62 on Sunday in the final round of the McGladrey Classic at the Sea Island Club Seaside Course, the Augusta native made a pitch for the events conducted after the PGA Tour Playoffs to count for a bit more -- such as getting an invitation to the Masters Tournament for winning.

"Somehow, these golf tournaments got classified with an invisible asterisk besides them," Howell said after his bogey-free round. "If you win these tournaments, you should get in the Masters. I don't understand why you can make a decision where if a guy wins a Fall Series event, he's not in the Masters. It's a PGA Tour event. Look at the field this week."

The Masters invites only winners of FedEx Cup events. Winners of the Fall Series tournaments and the three events played opposite the World Golf Championships do not merit an automatic invitation.

Howell has played in every Fall Series event except for the Frys.com Open since the concept began in 2007. He said the field for the McGladrey is competitive with many FedEx Cup tournaments and would have been even better had it not followed the Ryder Cup.

"Watch what this field will be next year," he said. "You'll see guys like Jim Furyk, Hunter Mahan, Sean O'Hair ... a lot of guys who were in the Ryder Cup."

The strength of field for the McGladrey Classic, as computed by the World Golf Rankings, was better than three FedEx Cup events: the Zurich Classic, Valero Texas Open and the Wyndham Championship.

TOUGH BREAK: Alex Hamilton stormed off the 18th green of the Sea Island Club Seaside Course on Saturday, angry that a double bogey at the par-4 closing hole knocked him a couple of pegs out of the top 10 on the McGladrey Classic leaderboard.

But when he was informed by a reporter that his beloved South Carolina Gamecocks had just scored to take a 21-3 over Alabama, he brightened a bit and said, "that makes me feel a little better ... not much, but a little."

Once the Augusta native and South Carolina graduate signed for his 68 that left him at 7-under-par 203, five shots off the lead, he felt even better than that.

"If you had told me I could have a 68 when the day started, I would have taken it," said Hamilton, who reached the tournament field through a Monday qualifier. "This is a tough golf course. You can make bogey from anywhere.

The wind's not blowing, but it's still difficult."

On Sunday, Hamilton had a double bogey on No. 13 and finished with 72 to drop into a tie for 45th.


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