DAVID Howell enjoyed a fine opening round at the Rocco Forte Open this morning.

The Swindon ace, who has only officially made one cut in 2017, carded a three-under-par 68 in Sicily to give himself a strong chance of making the weekend rounds.

The 41-year-old teed off from the 11th at the Verdura Golf Club and parred his opening eight holes.

The former two-time Ryder Cup winner, however, dropped a shot at hole one as he hit a bogey five before a birdie four saw him move back to level par.

Howell then followed that up with a birdie three at the fourth before picking up another shot on the par three seventh.

The Broome Manor pro finished his round on the tenth as he picked up his fourth birdie of the day to end three-under.

However, Howell will need a good second round tomorrow, which will get underway from the first tee at 12.45pm (BST), if he is to battle it out at the top as current clubhouse leader Sebastian Soderberg shot a 10-under 61.