DAVID Howell narrowly missed out on booking a place at the Open following Final Qualifying for the tournament on Tuesday.

Swindon golfer Howell finished in a tie for fourth at one of the four qualifiers held around the country – with the top three at each event securing a spot in the field for the final Major of the year at Royal Portrush in two weeks’ time.

Teeing off on eight-under on the final hole at his event at Prince’s in Sandwich, Kent, a par would have been enough to see Howell into a play-off – while a birdie would have guaranteed him a top-three finish.

However, the Broome Manor man recorded bogey to drop to seven-under, with that score surpassed by Curtis Knipes and Callum Shinkwin at nine-under and Austin Connelly one shot further back.

Howell still has two more chances to qualify for the Open – at this week’s Irish Open and the Scottish Open next week.

The 43-year-old must finish as one of the top-three non-qualified players at either event, but also place inside the top 10 on the leaderboard.

Wrag Barn player Josh Loughrey also narrowly missed out after finishing in a tie for 11th place at his event at Notts (Hollinwell).

Howell played well throughout the day at Prince’s and posted a three-under opening round of 69, with that only bettered by Julian Suri (66), Knipes (67) and Sam Forgan (68).

The two-time Ryder Cup winner then continued to sparkle in the second round and looked well set to be in the thick of contention with three birdies in his first four holes.

Another birdie at hole seven saw Howell further improve his score and he reached seven-under with nine holes to play.

A fifth second-round birdie came at 15 and Howell arrived on the tee at the final hole knowing another would almost certainly be enough to book his place at the Open.

However, he instead took bogey for a second-round 68 to drop back to seven-under.

Although that had him second behind Knipes at the time, he could only watch as Shinkwin and Connelly recorded second round scores of 65 and 66 respectively to leapfrog him on the leaderboard and leave in a gut-wrenching tie for fourth alongside Suri.