DAVID Howell opened up his Qatar Masters campaign with a level-par opening round of 72 on Thursday.

Swindon golfer Howell has yet to make a cut on the European Tour in 2019 from three previous starts, but another solid round in Doha on Friday is likely to see him break that duck.

The 43-year-old is currently in a tie for 52nd place on the leaderboard, although a handful of players are still yet to begin their first rounds.

Howell’s fellow Wiltshire golfer Jordan Smith, from Derry Hill, fared slightly better with a one-under 71.

Spaniard Adri Arnaus is currently the best placed of those players already back in the clubhouse after posting a five-under 67.

Teeing off at the 10th hole, Howell’s round got off to an unspectacular start as after three birdies in a row, he suffered a first dropped shot with a bogey at the 13th – his fourth – and was still one-over two holes later.

Reaching the turn was an up-and-down affair for the Broome Manor man as he returned to level par with a first birdie on his seventh hole, but went bogey-birdie after that to leave him even for the day heading into his second nine.

Things were much calmer after that thanks to a run of four pars in a row, although Howell began to slip again with a third bogey of the day at the fifth – his 14th.

However, a birdie two at the penultimate hole brought Howell back level overall, and a par to finish meant the two-time Ryder Cup winner was back in the clubhouse at even par.

Howell tees off his second round at 9.40am BST on Friday, alongside fellow Englishman Robert Rock and Denmark’s Jeff Winther.