DAVID Howell will be hoping a trip east off the coast of Africa will help kick-start his 2020 European Tour season as he prepared to get under way at the Mauritius Open in the early hours of this morning.

Swindon star Howell was forced to retire from last week’s campaign curtain-raising tournament at the Alfred Dunhill Championships in South Africa, pulling out of the event midway through his second round.

After shooting a disappointing six-over first round, the Broome Manor man slid further into trouble the following day.

He dropped four further shots to fall back to 10-over overall eight holes into round two when he withdrew from the event.

There appears to be now lasting issue from that, though, as Howell is in the field for this week’s tournament in Mauritius.

Teeing off his first round from the 10th hole, Howell was due to be playing alongside South African Michael G Palmer and India’s Jyoti Randhawa and got under way at 2.40am GMT this morning.

Howell’s appearance at Heritage Golf Club in Heritage Bel Ombre this week marks the first time he has ventured to compete in the Mauritius Open.

The 44-year-old has not previously competed at the tournament since it was added to the European Tour schedule in 2015.

Two-time Ryder Cup winner Howell is seeking better fortunes on Tour during the 2020 season after a tough return of just four cuts made from 24 events contested in the previous campaign.