A SUPERB finish for the second day in a row was not enough to see David Howell through to the weekend action at the Irish Open as he narrowly missed the cut by a single shot.

The Swindon star was amongst the earliest starters on Friday and two late birdies salvaged a one-over 71 to see him finish on level par after two rounds.

For a long spell that looked like being enough to see Howell through to the final two rounds at Lahinch Golf Club, only for the cutline to rise to one-under and confirm an early exit for the 43-year-old.

Two birdies in his final three holes in Thursday’s opening round saw Howell begin his tournament with a one-under 69.

He repeated the feat at in County Clare on Friday as birdies at holes 16 and 17 salvaged a round of 71 that had been three-over at one stage.

South African Zander Lombard heads into the weekend at the top of the leaderboard on nine-under after he shot a second-round 67 to go alongside his opening 64.

Howell’s second round got off to a terrible start and he was four-over for the day after seven holes.

The Broome Manor man took bogey at holes two and six before recording a double bogey six at the seventh.

Back-to-back birdies followed immediately after, though, as Howell clawed his way back to two-over for the day and one-over for the tournament at the turn.

Howell fell further back with another bogey at hole 11 but following a run of four pars in a row, he produced a strong finish.

Shots were claimed back with birdies at both holes 16 and 17 to see Howell sign for a one-over second-round 71 for level par overall.

Although that looked likely to see him safely make the cut for much of the afternoon, it was not quite enough in the end as the marker rose to one-under.