AFTER making back-to-back cuts for the first time in 18 months David Howell is heading to this week’s Hero Indian Open with a new sense of confidence.

Injury troubles curtailed the 42-year-old’s season last year and looked to have carried over to this year as a mixture of arm and back problems got him off to a slow start.

However, a tied 21st place at the Tshwane Open in South Africa last week, on top of a tied 61st at the Qatar Masters seven days earlier, things might be looking up for the Broome Manor man.

While Howell admits his confidence is growing week by week, he says there is still a long way for him to go before he is back to his best.

“I feel good. I had four rounds that were under par which was nice and my game was pretty tidy,” said Howell, who will tee it up in New Delhi on Thursday.

“My short game was a little inaccurate, but I was good off of the tee and made the cut nicely even though I was in a tight spot on Friday.

“It was the best I have played in a long while, so I am happy with that. Making two cuts in a row is definitely a step in the right direction.

“I was told that it was the first time I made back-to-back cuts in 18 months and even I didn’t know that it was that bad.

“That was positive and then to finish in the top 25, which was my best finish for a year or so is great.

“It wasn’t the biggest tournament, but it was a tricky little course.”

The two-time Ryder Cup winner is now looking towards the Indian Open, a tournament he has never played in before.

Despite the change in venue, Howell’s aspirations for the contest remain the same as he looks to make it three consecutive cuts.

“I’ve got a bit more confidence and it’s a course I’ve not played before.

“I’ve been told it is a tricky and unusual course, so I am looking forward to having a look at it,” he added.

“The goal once again this week is to make the cut and finish within the top 45, I’ve said for a few years now finishing in the top 45 is a result.

“If I can do that, then I would have had a tremendous three week run bearing in mind I was injured and not feeling good about my body two weeks ago.”

Howell is due to tee off alongside France’s Adrien Saddier and American Casey O’Toole at around 7.20am on Thursday morning, with former Open champion Darren Clarke and Bristol’s Ryder Cup star Chris Wood also in the field, along with this year’s European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn.