DAVID Howell's hopes of making a third successive cut on the European Tour looked on shaky ground as bad light halted play on day one of the Hero Indian Open in New Delhi today.

Howell, who finished just outside the top 20 at last week's Tshwane Open in South Africa, having also reached the weekend in the preceding Qatar Masters, had two holes of his opening round still to play heading into tomorrow's second day, having suffered a nightmare three-hole stretch before a halt was called.

The DLF Golf and Country Club is considered one of the most difficult courses on the European Tour and two-time Ryder Cup winner's opening round got off to an inauspicious start as he dropped shots at the second and third holes, another going at the seventh.

Howell stopped the rot with back-to-back birdies on eight and nine and made a steady start to his inward nine.

However the wheels came off on the 14th as he double-bogeyed the par four and worse was to follow at the short 16th as he ran up a triple-bogey six.

Emiliano Grillo beat the sunset to post a course-record equalling 65 and open up a two-shot lead.

The shadows were lengthening as Argentinian Grillo completed his round but he made an eighth birdie of the day on the last to get to seven under and lead the way from Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal, Italian Matteo Manassero and American Paul Peterson.