SWINDON golfer David Howell has left himself with work to do to make the cut at this week’s Made in Denmark tournament as a return to early exits on the European Tour looks likely.

Howell posted a two-over first round of 73 at Himmerland Golf & Spa Resort on Thursday and will need a big improvement in Friday’s second round to qualify for the weekend’s action.

A missed cut also appears to be on the cards for Howell’s fellow Wiltshire pro Jordan Smith after he got under way with a three-over first round of 74.

Broome Manor man Howell made his first cut of the 2019 season at the European Tour’s last event – the British Masters – a fortnight ago.

That ended a run of eight missed cuts at the start of the season, and 11 early exits in a row in total after a poor end to the 2018 campaign.

Howell got his Danish campaign under way in steady fashion with a run of six pars to start.

Although he dropped a first shot of the day with a bogey on the seventh, that was immediately claimed back with birdie on eight.

Another par then followed to see the 43-year-old reach the turn at level par.

However, Howell then began to fall down the leaderboard after three dropped shots in the space of four holes.

He started his back nine with bogey at the 10th before worse was to follow at 13 as Howell recorded a double bogey.

Although some of the damage was rectified with just a second birdie of the day at the 16th hole, that was the only other gained shot from the two-time Ryder Cup winner as he signed for a two-over 73.

It was also a tough day for Wiltshire colleague Smith, who was also left to rue his own double bogey.

Teeing off at the 10th hole, Smith was one-under after three but then recorded back-to-back bogeys at his fourth and fifth holes.

Smith’s front nine ended birdie-bogey to see the Bowood player reach the turn at one-over.

He was level after starting his second nine with a birdie, but again that was immediately followed but a bogey.

A double bogey seven on hole five – Smith’s 14th – then dropped him back to three-over and the Derry Hill man was not able to improve on his score before returning to the clubhouse.