SWINDON golfer David Howell endured a disastrous first day at the Italian Open as he shot an eight-over first round score of 79.

Howell recorded seven bogeys and a double bogey alongside just a solitary birdie at Olgiata Golf Club in Rome.

Of the players to have already finished their first rounds, only three have posted a worse score than Howell and he is destined to be well outside the top 100 by the time play comes to a close.

The 44-year-old is already 15 shots off the early pace set by Tapio Pulkkanen after the Finnish player shot a seven-under 64 to top the leaderboard.

Howell’s day got off to a disappointing start as a par at the first hole was followed by a run of three bogeys in a row.

Par was recorded at the fifth hole to stop the rot but further shots were dropped before the turn at the sixth and eighth as Howell rounded off a five-over front nine.

Three pars in succession began the back-nine scoring, although further dropped shots were not far away.

Howell recorded bogey at holes 13 and 15 before a double bogey arrived at number 16.

That left the Broome Manor man on nine-over, and although things did improve slightly with a lone birdie of the day at the 17th, it did little to brighten up a bleak day overall as Howell still signed for an eight-over 79.