DAVID Howell enters day two of the Abu Dhabi Championship in a tie for 33rd following an encouraging first round of two under par.

Howell has shown no kind of form in his opening four tournaments of the season with a tournament-high finish of 85th, but posted three birdies and a single bogey on the opening day of one of the former Broome Manor pro’s favourite tournaments.

At Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Howell began his day on the 10th hole with a par and followed that with four more in a solid yet unspectacular start.

An unfortunate bogey on the par-three 15th disrupted the two-time Ryder Cup winner’s front nine, but Howell responded with great character to resume his par run to the turn.

A trio of further pars threatened to leave Howell with plenty of work to do on day two, but with half-a-dozen holes remaining, the 44-year-old made his move.

Consecutive birdies on holes four and five – courtesy of some textbook putting – pushed Howell into the red for the first time before a well-timed four on 17 snatched another shot from the course.

Howell’s putting – which has nearly always been a source of great comfort – was ranked as the 19th best in the field of over 140 while the Swindonian’s scrambling featured inside the top 20 as a handful of bogeys were narrowly avoided.

Though Howell did make a better start than has often been seen in recent months, he is still some way off the lead.

Italy’s Renato Paratore and South Africa’s Shaun Norris lead the way after two spectacular rounds of eight under par.

Howell tees off his second round at 7:50am local time.