A STORMING run of four birdies in six holes helped David Howell charge into contention at the Hong Kong Open this morning.

The Broome Manor pro, who is on the brink of qualifying for the end-of-season World Tour Championship in Dubai, did his hopes no harm whatsoever with a two-under-par round of 68.

Following the opening 18 holes, Howell was four shots off the lead held by Spaniard Javier Colomo ahead of tonight’s second outing, due to begin at 11.50pm GMT (7.50am local time).

Starting at the 10th, the opening nine holes were relatively uneventful for the Swindon star, who bogeyed the par-five 13th before picking up a shot with a three on the 18th.

A bogey at the first followed but then Howell made gains with a two at the second and a four at the third.

One par later, the Wiltshire man rattled in two more birdies at six and seven, before finishing off with a dropped shot on nine.

Colomo, whose caddy is his wife, was a shock leader given that he is ranked 507th and does not have a European card at present.

But the Asian Tour member's six-under-par 64 left him one ahead of compatriot Miguel Angel Jimenez and Australian Andrew Dodt.

“The first six months it was very hard for me and for my wife, but now we are more comfortable and more happy,” he said.

“I think this is very good for us - we feel more strong mentally.”

Jimenez is trying to become the circuit's oldest-ever winner on the same course where he triumphed in 2005 and 2008, and he would have led on his own but for two closing bogeys.

“I'm putting very well and it's a pity I missed a fairway on the ninth and then on the last got a big flyer," said Jimenez.

“It's an old-fashioned course - not very long, but you need to be very precise.”