DAVID Howell says there are ‘definitely some positive vibes flying around’ ahead of his third European Tour start of the season at the Oman Open today.

After two missed cuts at the Dubai Desert Classic and Saudi International earlier this year, Howell has taken a few weeks off to holiday with his family in Dubai as well as taking time to play some social golf with his friends following a three-month injury lay off over the winter.

The 43-year-old believes he is now in his best overall state for a long time. And with fellow Swindonian and long-time friend Jason Hempleman as his caddie, Howell is targeting a top-45 finish to kick-start his 2019 season.

Howell, who has not complained of any adverse effects to his shoulder, back or wrist since returning from injury, spoke highly of the Al Mouj Golf Club’s championship course and is quietly confident of a positive showing.

He said: “My body is feeling pretty good and my shoulder is in great shape, so I’m looking forward to getting out there and hopefully putting a good score on the board.

“The course is absolutely amazing – the best conditioned course I think I’ve ever seen, it’s unbelievable, and it’s a brilliant golf course as well.

“The gun hasn’t gone off yet, but everything is building up nicely and I’m enjoying it.

“The weather is lovely, the course is amazing, the greens are brilliant, so there are definitely some positive vibes flying around and hopefully we can make the most of it this week.”

Howell will be hoping the positivity that he is exuding will translate into a low score this week as he searches for a first full week of golf since the Portugal Masters last September.

The Swindon-born golfer believes this week’s course set-up will aid him in his quest too and is excited to step out onto the first tee.

He said: “I certainly need to get a result on the board as soon as possible – either this week or next – so it would be great to get going this week.

“I’m certainly feeling a bit more upbeat and I’m certainly in a better place than I was when I started again a few weeks back in Dubai.

“I think it’s a course that suits my skillset as well – there’s not a lot of rough, it’s not that long, the fairways are running fast and there’s lots of putting to do.

“When you miss the greens, it’s mainly putting this week which is similar to Links golf, so things are setting up in my favour, hopefully now I can go out and perform.”

Howell tees off at 4:25am (GMT) alongside fellow Englishman Callum Shinkwin and South Korea’s Jinho Choi while Wiltshire golfer Jordan Smith begins his round an hour earlier in the company of Austrian Bernd Wiesberger and Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts.