JORDAN Smith boosted his hopes of improving his European Tour Race To Dubai standing as fellow Wiltshire players David Howell and Laurie Canter left themselves with work to do to make the cut in the KLM Dutch Open.

Derry Hill’s Smith, who reached in the end-of-season DB World Tour Championship in his maiden Tour season last year, lay two places outside the top 60 on the order of merit heading into this week’s event at The Dutch course, in Spijk.

But the 25-year-old put together a superb opening round of 65 to lie just a shot off the early pace set by England’s Chris Wood and China’s Ashun Wu.

Smith made a poor start by bogeying his opening hole, but reeled off four straight birdies from the fourth to go out in 32.

Despite a dropped shot at the 11th, the Bowood player eagled the long 13th and birdied 17 to sign for an opening 66.

Howell was down the field after carding a two-over-par 73.

The two-time Ryder Cup winner from Swindon opened with five straight pars and then dipped under par with a birdie at the long par-five sixth.

However, he leaked a shot at the short eight and par-four ninth to reach the turn in 36 and, after beginning his back nine steadily, bogeyed the long 13th.

Repairing that damage with a birdie at the short 14th, Howell dropped a further shot at the 17th to come home in 37 strokes.

Canter, from the Cumberwell Park club in Bradford on Avon, also failed to build on a positive start as he finished a shot better off after a 72.

After birdieing the second, he dropped a shot at the fifth but birdied the sixth to dip back under par. But he fared less well on the back nine with back-to-back bogeys on the 12th and 13th.