JORDAN Smith staged a late recovery to salvage a one-over-par total from his opening tournament round of the year at the BMW South Africa Open - but there was more injury agony for Swindon's David Howell.

Two-time Ryder Cup winner Howell, who had been dogged by a shoulder injury in the lead-up to the European Tour’s 2018 curtain-raiser initially picked up the injury six weeks ago, but was hoping it would resolve itself before taking to the course. 

Initially, the 42-year-old believed he was fit enough to compete as he teed off at the 10th at Glendower GC at the BMW SA Open but, after picking up a pair of birdies and two bogeys in his first 13 holes, he called it a day after carding a double-bogey six at the par-four fifth.

Last year, a back injury curtailed his campaign but after a month off over Christmas, Howell revealed he has recovered from that problem, which has only added to his despair. 

“It was always going to be a bit 50-50 and I did all I could over the last three days to be somewhat okay for the tournament,” he said. 

“I warmed up okay, I wasn’t too bad. It was just a case of whether the injury was going to get worse, or stay the same and as the round progressed, it just got worse and worse. 

“Obviously it is a horrendously frustrating start to the year and it is the last thing you expect after a month off – to come back and not be fit. 

“The back has been great, that has been fantastic and is the best it has felt in years so that’s another reason this is such a blow.” 

Howell has revealed he will now have a scan to get to the bottom of the problem when he returns to the UK. 

The 42-year-old has refused to put a timeline on his recovery and feels it is important not to rush back, as he has to be fully fit before thinking about competing. 

“Rest doesn’t seem to have solved the issue, I’m having a scan so we will see what that shows,” he added. 

“The scan is back in the UK, obviously there is an injury there, but that will tell me if it is just a mechanical failing, a strain in there or something worse. 

“It’s left me unprepared. I haven’t practiced anywhere near what I wanted to. As much experience as I have got, I can’t compete with half an arm. 

“I need to be fully fit to give myself a chance.” 

Fellow Wiltshire player Smith, meanwhile, will certainly be looking to continue his involvement into the weekend after a rousing finish to his round.

Like Howell, he started on the back nine but posted bogeys in two of his first three holes as he went out in a two-over-par 38. Two further fives on par-fours at the fifth and seventh left the Derry Hill man up against it but he rallied superbly.

The 25-year-old bagged an eagle three at the 522-yard eighth hole and scored a birdie at the par-four ninth to end the day in the middle of the 155-strong field.

Chase Koepka of the United States is the early leader on seven-under, with England’s Chris Paisley a shot behind.

Smith tees off his second round alongside Marc Warren and Trevor Fisher Jnr at 12.30pm local time on Friday.