DAVID Howell has set himself an uphill task if he is to make the cut at the Maybank Championship in Malaysia after carding a two-over 74 in the first round today.

Teeing off at the 10th hole in Kuala Lumpur, Howell started in frustrating fashion as he began his round with a bogey.

A first of three birdies on the day immediately followed that to bring the 43-year-old back to level par, but another bogey on hole 14 – his fifth – saw him drop back over-par.

Pars on the final four holes before the turn meant Howell was unable to salvage the situation over his front nine.

The situation then got worse for the Broome Manor man as he fell further behind the leaders after starting his back nine with back-to-back bogeys.

A par at the next steadied the ship, before a pair of birdies on his 13th and 14th holes brought him back to one-over.

He held that status for a further two holes, but a disappointing bogey on his penultimate hole dropped him back to two-over, which was where he finished for the day.

Howell tees off his second round at 5.20am GMT tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, Howell’s fellow Wiltshire player, Jordan Smith, also carded 74.

Smith struck a birdie on the fifth to create a strong platform to build on throughout the rest of the afternoon.

But after bogeying the seventh, 10th and 11th, he ended the round two-over.