DAVID Howell was left to rue three bad shots on the opening day of the Nordea Masters.

The 38-year-old made a superb start to the tournament in Malmo as he went into the back nine three-under-par having not put a foot wrong.

But on his way back to the clubhouse the Broome Manor pro limped home one-over.

“It is disappointing not to finish with a score that I thought that I would have had,” Howell told the Advertiser.

“It was just three bad shots that have cost me.”

Howell, who had made some technical adjustments to his game prior to the start of this tournament at the PGA Sweden National, started see his round unfold at the 11th.

The Swindon star, who had birdied holes two, five and six, found the water hazard from his tee shot to finish with a bogey six and then a poor second shot at the 13th left him in trouble again, but it was at the 16th that really cost him.

“I just put the ball in the worst possible place,” he said.

“I found another hazard and I double bogied it.

“I managed to get myself back together for the 17th but the final hole was another tough one which meant I finished one-over.

“It was quite windy on the back nine and it did make things tough, but I didn’t put a foot wrong on the front nine and that was very pleasing.”

Despite finishing the day in frustrating fashion, Howell was overall pleased with how it went as he looks to make the cut for the first time in four outings.

“I have made giant strides since the qualifier on Monday,” he said.

“I was atrocious to be honest and I tried these new things out.

“But today it felt good and I was hitting the ball quite nicely.

“What was really pleasing though was my putting. I had been struggling with my putting lately, but I putted beautifully.

“I know I haven’t got the score that I should have done, but there are a lot of positives I can take out of this round.

“These technical changes are going to take as long as I thought and hopefully it is going to set-up me up well for the rest of the week.”

Reigning champion Mikko Ilonen fired a two-under 70 in his opening round, while Sweden’s Jens Dantorp and Abingdon’s Eddie Pepperell returned to the clubhouse six-under to lead the way.