DAVID Howell ended his first round at the Open de France one-over par this afternoon as the Broome Manor man also hit a momentous milestone in his career.

The 39-year-old became the second-youngest and seventh-fastest player to reach 500 appearances on the European Tour, with only Peter Baker, at 36, achieving the feat at a younger age.

Howell was presented with an engraved ice bucket for his achievement following his opening round, which saw him card two birdies and three bogeys, and was delighted to hit the milestone.

“It’s very satisfying,” he said. “There aren’t many people who have played as many tournaments as me in the history of the European Tour, and who have as many years to go as well.

“You get this nice little award to put on the mantelpiece, and I guess you feel firmly part of the furniture of the European Tour if you reach 500. I’m probably feeling a little bit like a raggedy old sofa perhaps, but it’s nice to be part of a great sporting organisation for going on 20 years now.

“I’ve always kept my desire and I want to be out here, I love my job and I love being out and being part of the European Tour. It all comes down to desire, and also your health. I’ve had my injuries along the way, and my niggles and they are still there, but I’m feeling pretty good at the moment, so there’s no reason why I can’t carry on a few years yet.

“I’m only 39, and when you look at Miguel (Angel Jiménez), who has won 14 events after the age of 40, it makes you think that if he can do it, maybe I can as well.

“I’ve had my struggles along the way. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster, I would say more ups than downs but I’ve had my tough times out there as well, which are obviously character building. You question your commitment to the game and how much you enjoy it but I’ve come through those periods, come out the other side still realising that I love the game and love trying to get better.”