DAVID Howell missed the first cut of the 2018 European Tour season despite carding an improved one-under par round of 69 at the UBS Hong Kong Open yesterday.

The 42-year-old kicked off his season on Thursday with a disappointing opening round, which saw him finish with a score of five over par 75.

Given his poor start to the event, Howell needed a solid second day if he was to give himself a chance of making the cut.

And on his front nine it looked as if the two-time Ryder Cup winner was on the right track as he hit par on his opening six holes before carding a birdie three on the seventh.

He signed off the opening nine with another two pars, leaving him one-under going into his back nine.

However, the back nine was where the Swindon star hit a snag as he recorded his first bogey of the day on the par-three 12th.

Howell managed to recover the stroke at the next hole with a birdie four, which proved to be the start of a good run for the 42-year-old, who finished tied 14th in the tournament last year.

That birdie was followed up with a par and a birdie-three on the 15th, to take his scorecard to two under for the day.

The turbulent round continued with a bogey-five on the 15th, before Howell rounded things off with another two pars.

Ending on four over after his first two rounds, Howell missed the first cut of the year, which fell at two over par in Hong Kong.