SWINDON golfer David Howell begun his BMW International Open tournament with a battling level-par round of 72 this afternoon.

Howell was playing in his first event since the Made in Denmark tournament towards the end of May – a competition that ended early as the 43-year-old was unable to build on his made cut at the British Masters a fortnight prior.

Howell, teeing off on the back nine first up at the Golfclub München Eichenried, bogeyed his first hole before shooting a four on the par-five 11th hole to restore parity on the scorecard.

Four further pars followed before the former Ryder Cup member dipped into the red for the first and only time on Thursday.

Howell birdied the 16th thanks to a three on that hole before slipping back to level par overall with a bogey on the par-three 17th.

And as soon as the former Broome Manor pro started the front nine, he began to wobble further as he recorded back-to-back bogeys on the first and second to slip further down the field and put his potential appearance at the weekend in jeopardy.

However, Howell rallied and produced two consecutive pars before sinking puts on the fifth and sixth to force himself back up to level par.

The 43-year-old ended his round alongside 40 other players on a score of 72 and is six shots behind current leader, Andrea Pavan.

Howell tees off alongside Gonzalo Fdez-Castano and Florian Fritsch at 12pm BST in Friday’s second round.