DAVID Howell put himself in contention for a possible top-10 finish at The Open with a sizzling final three holes today.

Having swapped bogeys and birdies for much of his second round at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club at Hoylake, the Broome Manor pro summoned up a run of three straight birdies at the last three attempts to card a very respectable two-under-par 70, leaving him two-under for the tournament.

Having started with a dropped shot at the par-five second, the former Ryder Cup star quickly hauled a stroke back on the fifth.

However, by the end of the sixth he was back to one-over, having bogeyed the short par three.

Another bogey was to follow at the ninth, leaving Howell over par at the turn.

With the projected cut at that point looking to be around the two-over mark, the Swindonian was on fragile ground but he steadied the ship with consecutive pars at 10 and 11 before nabbing another birdie at the par-four 12th to set himself back on track.

Three more solid pars followed before Howell came to life at the very end of his round, taking shots off his score at 16, 17 and 18 to complete a superb day’s work.