DAVID Howell declared himself more than satisfied with his first-round performance at the BMW PGA Championship this afternoon after the Swindon star opened up with a one-under-par 71.

Howell has made just one cut on the European Tour so far this calendar year but looks well placed to still be in action over the weekend rounds at the Tour’s flagship event.

The Broome Manor man had an up-and-down first round, featuring five birdies and four bogeys, but was content with the how he coped with the revamped West Course for the first time under tournament conditions.

“It was not a bad effort. The scoring is not great, so one under is a decent enough score,” said 41-year-old Howell, who won the tournament back in 2006.

“Clearly you’d love to get off to a flyer and be four or five under and up with the lead. I am not there but I am safely inside the cut line today.

“It’s a reasonable start. Anything under par at Wentworth is always okay.

“With the changes to the course, you are feeling your way a little bit with what the scoring is like but the greens are a lot firmer than they used to be and that’s making it a lot more difficult than we are used to.”

After opening up with two pars, Howell got himself into red figures early on with a birdie at the third hole.

However, that shot was soon given back at the sixth before another bogey on the eighth saw the two-time Ryder Cup player heading for the turn at one over.

Howell was able get back to par with a birdie on 11 and another swiftly followed on the long 12th hole as the Swindon ace returned to red figures.

That kick-started a run of fluctuating fortunes over the closing holes, as Howell recorded two birdies and two bogeys from the 14th to the 18th.

A dropped shot on 14 saw him return to level par but Howell was able to string together a birdie-bogey-birdie finish to ensure he ended the day under par.

After a solid start as he got to grips with the revamped course, Howell is targeting even better in tomorrow’s second round to move himself up the leaderboard.

“I’m fairly happy. There were three or four bad swings that really cost me any real momentum moving forwards,” added Howell.

“There were three tee shots where I didn’t quite commit to them and that’s a hangover from the tough spell of golf I have been having.

“I’ve got to get through that and commit that bit better tomorrow and make it safely to the weekend, maybe with a nice score in the 60s to be in a good position.”