DAVID Howell endured a tough start to his Australian PGA Championship campaign as he posted a three-over first-round score of 75 this morning.

The Swindon golfer is playing his third event of the 2020 European Tour this season, having previously missed the cut at both the Alfred Dunhill Championships in South Africa and the Mauritius Open.

He faces a stiff challenge to end that run and qualify for the weekend action Down Under after a poor start to the event.

Howell is currently in a tie for 107th on the leaderboard at RACV Royal Resort on the Gold Coast, eight shots off the lead held by Australian duo Lucas Herbert and Brett Rankin.

The Broome Manor man will be hoping for a strong second-round performance to help him move up the leaderboard and make the cut.

There was not much to shout about for Howell in his front nine in the opening round, as he posted three bogeys and no birdies to leave himself with plenty of work to do.

After three pars to open the tournament, the 44-year dropped his first shot of the day at the fourth.

Another three pars followed but back-to-back bogeys on holes eight and nine saw him reach the turn at three-over.

There was finally some good news for Howell as he began the back nine, recording a first birdie of the day at the 10th.

But that failed to ignite a positive run as six pars in succession followed.

Disaster then struck at the penultimate hole as the two-time Ryder Cup winner posted a double-bogey six to drop back to four-over.

One of those shots was recovered at the last as Howell finished off his round with a birdie, but it still only left him at three-over and facing a fight to make the cut.

Howell tees off his second round at 1.30am GMT on Friday morning, playing alongside Australians Cameron Davis and Matthew Griffin.