DAVID Howell made a steady start to his British Masters campaign at Hillside yesterday, ending day one of the competition at level par.

The 43-year-old Swindon golfer is bidding to make his first cut of the 2019 European Tour season, and he has given himself every chance of achieving that following a steady opening round in Southport.

Starting on the back nine, Howell made a bright start to his round with a birdie on the 10th after shooting par on the opening hole.

Pars on holes 12, 13 and 14 were complimented by another birdie on the par-four 15th – putting the former Ryder Cup winner two-under for the day.

A par on the 16th further settled Howell, but bogeys on holes 17 and 18 at the end of the back nine plunged him back to level par half way through the round.

The back nine started in similar fashion to the front. Starting with a par on the first, Howell recorded a birdie on the second to again place him one-under.

The third hole was again parred by Howell, who came unstuck at the fourth and recorded a third bogey of the afternoon.

At level par with five holes remaining, Howell shots pars on each of the concluding five holes on his opening round to end the day level par – in T66.

Fellow Wiltshire hope Jordan Smith is also in solid form at Hillside. He ended day one four-under.