DAVID Howell failed to build on a positive start at the Omega European Masters to leave himself requiring a Friday improvement to make the cut in Switzerland.

Swindon’s Howell, playing for the fourth consecutive European Tour event since his return from a month-long break, carded an opening round of 71 to lie at one over par at Crans-sur-Sierre.

Laurie Canter, from the Cumberwell Park club in Bradford on Avon, delivered a superb late rally to his opening round to shoot 68 and end the opening day one under par.

Among the earlier starters, Howell parred his opening four holes, having started on the 10th, but briefly jumped into a tie for the early lead as he eagled the long par-five 14th.

Two holes later though he had handed those shots back as he took five at the short 16th and reached the turn level in 35 strokes.

The two-time Ryder Cup winner’s inward nine started poorly as he bogeyed the first and short third, but Howell returned to one over par as he birdied the seventh.

Some late fireworks from Canter turned a mediocre day into one that left him just four shots off the early lead.

Also starting from the 10th, he bogeyed his opening hole and despite a birdie at the 14th, then dropped a shot at 16 to go out in 36.

A steady opening six holes of his back nine followed before Canter eagled the par four seventh and then birdied the eighth to turn his day around.

Maximilian Kieffer birdied three of his last five holes to set the early clubhouse target on day one.

The German recently recorded his first top five of the season at the Nordea Masters and carded a 64 to take a one-shot lead at six under.

Frenchman Julien Guerrier, Dane Søren Kjeldsen and England’s Andy Sullivan were five under.