DAVID Howell’s comeback from injury was blotted by a two-shot penalty on the final hole on the Old Course at St Andrew’s at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

The 42-year-old made his return from a back problem this morning for the first time since he withdrew from the Porsche European Open at the end of July.

In what has been a difficult campaign for the Broome Manor pro, Howell’s poor form looked like it was showing no signs of abating when he was two over par after just four holes.

However, the two-time Ryder Cup winner, who won this event back in 2013, pulled back on a shot at the turn with a birdie three on the ninth.

The Swindon ace parred the opening four holes of the back nine before making a charge up the leaderboard.

With a birdie four at the 14th, Howell shot back-to-back birdie threes on 15 and 16 to move up to tied 17th.

Then a par on the 17th was then followed by another par as it looked to be a good for Howell.

However, he was then handed a two-shot penalty for teeing off in front of the marker which left him with a level par round of 72.

Howell wrote on his Twitter page: “MyCaddy noticed I'd teed up in front of tee marker on 18 today, 2 shot penalty, 1st day with me, honest as the day is long, #Integrity”

Derry Hill’s Jordan Smith finished his round on the Old Course with a two-under 70.

Cumberwell Park pro Laurie Canter, who was playing alongside former South Africa wicketkeeper Mark Boucher, was playing on the Carnoustie course and finished with a level par 72.