DAVID Howell is targeting two good rounds at the Italian Open as he continues to hunt a big finish to cap his recent upturn in form.

The Swindon professional carded a two-under par 70 yesterday to leave himself tied for fifth after two rounds in Turin, and is now only three shots off the lead held by Frenchman Gregory Bourdy.

Howell only carded one bogey on a round which also included an eagle at the eighth and a birdie at 17, and the 36-year-old is now hoping to improve on his fourth place finish at the French Open in July.

“The last few months have been really good for me, and I have done well to make a lot of cuts,” he said.

“But what I really want is a big finish, and if I keep doing what I have been doing that will come eventually I am sure.

“The reason you play golf is to be in contention on Sunday afternoons, and the confidence is coming back all the time.

“It ebbs and flows on certain days because of my swing, but I feel like I am getting there now and that is the main thing.”

While Howell was pleased with the way he played yesterday, he knows he still has plenty to work on.

“I didn’t really drive the ball as well as I would have liked to to be honest, but I can work on that and being a couple under par is never a bad thing,” he said.

“But I will have to drive the ball better if I am going to compete in the final two rounds.

“The good thing recently has been that when I have not been at my best I have still been able to get the ball round, and that has really helped me.

“When I was really struggling over the last few years my short game seemed to desert me, but I think I have managed to get that back now because I am saving par a lot more often than I used to.”