A HORROR finish cost David Howell a likely place among the first-round leaders at the European Masters in Switzerland today.

Swindon’s two-time Ryder Cup star shot a nine-under-par round of 63 on the final day to finish second at the Italian Open on Sunday.

And off the back of a season’s best finish, the 39 year old looked to have picked up where he left off in Torino as he raced to the turn in 31 strokes at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club in Switzerland.

Howell birdied the long par five opening hole and then picked up another shot at the short third before a hat-trick of birdies on the seventh, eighth and ninth left him within striking distance of the lead.

His first mistake of the day came at the 14th but he immediately made amends with a birdie at the long 15th.

However, a disastrous 16th and 17th saw Howell double-bogey both to drop back to one under, seven shots adrift of Scotland’s Richie Ramsey and Italian Edoardo Molinari, who led the field.