SWINDON’S David Howell admitted his opening round of one-over-par at the Dubai Desert Classic was typical of his form for the last month.

The 38-year-old, who was two shots off the projected cut ahead of today’s second round, felt that small errors cost him a decent score at the Emirates Golf Club.

It was a disappointing start for the two-time Ryder Cup winner, who had been hoping to bounce back strongly after missing the cut at the Qatar Masters last week.

“It was a really frustrating day as I didn’t play too badly at all,” said Howell.

“I played some nice stuff for a bunch of the holes and only missed two greens in regulation, which is a sign I was there or thereabouts on most of the holes.

“I holed one 15-footer but the greens were absolutely perfect so that wasn’t a very good effort.

“I didn’t hit it really close to the hole much, it was to within 12, 15 or 20 feet and I could certainly expect to hole a few of those.

“I drove the ball pretty well and there were plenty of nice looks at birdies but didn’t take them, and when I looked like I was going to drop a shot, I did.

“I just managed to turn what could easily have been a 70 or 69 into a 73, which has been the story for the last three weeks.

“It hasn’t been a great month, my game has not been quite there.”

Howell admits that he needs to build momentum this morning as he begins his second round and is confident that conditions will be conducive to low scoring.

He said: “I need to build some sort of positive energy and get something good to happen, because today was a bit lacklustre.

“I’m going to have to shoot two-under minimum if the weather stays as it is, maybe three-under.

“There’s low scores to be had out there and there’s no reason why I can’t go out and do it, but I need to come out firing on all cylinders.”

The overnight leader was PGA Championship winner Rory McIlroy on nine-under.