A FINAL-HOLE double bogey capped a disappointing first round for David Howell at the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco today as fellow Wiltshire golfer Jordan Smith set the early pace at the latest European Tour event.

Swindon star Howell’s late blip saw him open up the tournament in Rabat with a four-over 77.

Meanwhile, Derry Hill’s Smith shot a bogey-free seven-under round of 66 to top the early leaderboard. Spaniard Alejandro Canizares is the 26-year-old’s nearest challenger, one shot back.

Howell will start day two sitting outside the top 100 after a poor start and finish to his round.

Teeing off at the 10th hole, Broome Manor man Howell kicked things off with back-to-back bogeys, and then dropped two further shots after seven.

Things improved from there and a first birdie of the day at his eighth hole saw Howell get back to three-over at the turn, and he swiftly clawed back another shot at the start of his second nine too.

However, that failed to ignite a run of momentum as a bogey at hole 12 was offset by a birdie at 17, before a disastrous finish to the round saw the 43-year-old plummet down the leaderboard.

Howell posted a double-bogey five at his final hole to drop back to four-over as he returned to the clubhouse.