Augusta native Charles Howell has not enjoyed as stellar a career as was expected when he turned pro
in 2000 as the most heralded amateur since Tiger Woods, but he has certainly been a productive player
during his 18 seasons on the PGA Tour.
Howell has just two wins, the first coming in his second full season in 2002; the last coming in 2007 in
Los Angeles. It hasn’t been for lack of opportunities, however. Howell has 15 runner-up finishes on the
PGA Tour after placing second as an amateur in his only start on what is now the Web.com Tour shortly
after concluding his college career at Oklahoma State.
The most recent runner-up finish for Howell came in San Diego, where he tied for second behind 22-
year-old Jon Rahm, who began his pro career with a comparable amount of hype to Howell.
Howell shot a final round 68, one of the low scores of the day, to erase a 3-stroke deficit behind the two
co-leaders after 54 holes. But Rahm fired a tournament-best 65 on the demanding Torrey Pines South
course to win by three.
Since he became one of the rare PGA Tour members to play his way onto the tour after beginning the
2000 season with no status, Howell has earned more than $32 million (21 st on the all-time money list)
and recorded 82 top-10 finishes, including 24 top-3s along with his two victories.
For most of his career, Howell has enjoyed much of his success early in the season, and has compiled a
particularly profitable record on the West Coast.
In his first three starts in Hawaii and California to begin 2017, Howell tied for eighth in the Hawaiian
Open, for 12th in the former Bob Hope Classic and for second in San Diego. That followed a strong
showing in his last three starts of the Fall stretch of events that comprise the start of the 2016-17 PGA
Howell tied for 15th out West in Las Vegas, for seventh in Mexico’s Mayakoba Classic and for 13th in the
RSM Classic at Sea Island GC, one of Howell’s favorite stops on the East Coast. He was a combined 80-
under par in those six events, and has put himself in position to accomplish a few aims that have eluded
him in recent years.
With his tie for second in San Diego, Howell moved up to 64th in the World Golf Rankings after beginning
the 2016-17 season outside the top 100. He also moved up to eighth in the FedExCup standings, and
those two numbers will have a major effect on Howell’s schedule the next 2 ½ months.
If Howell remains in the top 10 on the FedExCup points list through the end of February, he will qualify
for the WGC event has moved from Doral to Mexico. If he remains in the top 64 in the rankings as of
mid-March, he will qualify for the WGC Match Play Championship in Austin.
Howell last played in a WGC event in 2013 and has qualified just once for the Match Play since 2008,
coming close to the cutoff on several occasions. While Howell would certainly like to qualify for both
events, his focus is more on a tournament two weeks after the Match Play in his home town.
Like the Match Play, Howell has qualified for the Masters just once since 2008 after making seven
straight starts in Augusta from 2002-08. Howell’s struggles to play his way into the Masters field during
the past eight years have been a source of considerable frustration for the 37-year- old Augusta native,
who first made national golf headlines as a junior playing out of Augusta Country Club.
During his first seven seasons on the PGA Tour, Howell placed in the top 15 on either the final money list
or FedExCup standings, which were introduced in 2007. He had a fourth top-30 finish during that span
and just missed the top 30 on two other occasions.
Since then, he has finished in the top 30 in points just once, placing 19 \th in 2011, which earned him a
spot in the 2002 Masters, where he finished 19 th , not quite high enough to earn a return invite for 2013.
He came close in 2013 and ’14, finishing 35th and 34th respectively on the points list, with his inability to
crack the top 30 also limiting him to just one U.S. Open start since ’08.
Howell has always been one of the hardest-working members of the PGA Tour, averaging just under 29
starts per season. He played 25 last year despite missing two months and two majors due to a minor
medical procedure, his lowest number of starts since his first full season in 2001.
With the possibility that he may need to add one or two WGC events to his schedule in March, Howell
has begun the process of adjusting his schedule, withdrawing from the Phoenix Open, one of several
West Coast swing events where he has enjoyed success in the past.
The last victory for Howell came in 2007 at Riviera CC in the Los Angeles Open, where he shot 65 in the
final round to tie Phil Mickelson and won a playoff, the only time in four tries he has won in sudden
The final round in San Diego featured a large group of players battling for the lead for most of the day,
with Howell joining the picture when he holed a 65-foot eagle putt on the par-5 13 th . He birdied the par-
5 18th to take the lead in the clubhouse at 10-under 278, but Rahm holed a 60-footer for an eagle at 18
to ensure his win, capping a 6-under 30 on the back nine that also included an eagle on the 13th .
Howell was one of seven golfers with Georgia ties to score top-20 finishes in San Diego.
Tying for ninth at 280 was former UGA golfer Brian Harman and recent Georgia tech standout Ollie
Schniederjans, a PGA Tour rookie.
Harman, a Savannah native and St Simons Island resident, also eagled the 18 th with a 240-yard second
shot to two feet for a final round 68. Harman tied for third the previous week in the Southern California
desert, two shots behind former UGA teammate Hudson Swafford.
Schniederjans, who moved to Powder Springs with his family as a youngster and lives in Alpharetta, was
among the players competing for a victory the final day, but missed a number of short putts the final
two days, closing with consecutive scores of 71. It was the second top 10 of his rookie season. He tied
for sixth last Fall in the RSM Classic at Sea Island GC.
Tying for 14th at 281 was St. Simons resident Michael Thompson and south Georgia native Harris
English, also a St. Simons resident and Harman’s and Swafford’s UGA teammate. Thompson shot a final
round 68 to score his third top-20 finish in his last four spots. English moved into contention with birdies
at 13 and 16, but fell out of the top-5 with a double bogey at the 17th for a 72.
Tying for 20th at 282 were former Georgia Tech golfers Stewart Cink and Richy Werenski. Cink was a
contender for most of the final round, but bogeyed three of his last seven holes for a 73. Cink has three
top-20 finishes this season. Werenski played his final 11 holes in 7-under for a 66 on Sunday, the second
best score of the day. He tied for ninth the previous week.