SWINDON’S David Howell hailed his display at Hoylake this week as the best he has ever played at The Open.

The Broome Manor man got better with every round, finishing with a 68 over his final 18 holes which left him tied for 15th on eight-under for the tournament.

Howell finished tied for seventh in 2008 and, although he ended eight places further off the lead this time around, the Swindon pro admitted he put together a more complete performance in Liverpool as he ended as the leading Englishman in the field behind winner Rory McIlroy.

“It was very pleasing and probably the best I’ve ever played at The Open to be honest,” he said.

“I know I finished seventh or eighth a few years back but that was courtesy to one really good round in bad weather, but this one was a really solid performance throughout the week.

“Having not come into this week in superb form it was really pleasing to play the way I did over the weekend, and overall it’s a real boost to my confidence.

“You always think and worry about a promising week turning into something average with a bad final round and that would have been very frustrating. I’ve felt like I’ve had opportunities to really finish strong for the last couple of weeks but just didn’t pull them off.

“I played nicely, although there were opportunities to make it even better because every putt I hit had a chance of going in, but you can’t make them all.

“All in all it was a very solid performance because playing against the best players in the world at the biggest tournaments is what it’s all about, and although finishing 15th isn’t the biggest thing to shout about it really was a good week for me.”

Northern Irishman McIlroy dominated the event from start to finish and led the field at the end of all four rounds, eventually beating Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler by two shots, leaving Howell impressed with his display.

“Rory is something special,” Howell said.

“He’s one of those players who you always knew was going to go on and do something special and he played really well this week.

“He thoroughly deserved to win and played great golf for all-four days.”