DAVID Howell was restricted to just four holes on the opening day of a rain-affected Andalucia Valderrama Masters on Thursday.

Poor weather meant the first round at Real Golf Club Valderrama in Sotogrande, Spain, got off to a delayed start, with Swindon star Howell one of the most badly affected due to being amongst the later starters.

The 43-year-old start was not able to tee off his round until after 4pm local time and managed to complete only four holes before play was curtailed once again due to bad light.

Howell had already endured some difficulties before returning to the clubhouse, and will resume his first round at 9am local time on Friday at one-over par.

Only 66 players amongst the 126-strong field were able to complete their first rounds, with Englishman Ashley Chesters the best of those after a five-under round of 66.

Howell’s fellow Wiltshire player Laurie Canter, from Cumberwell Park in Bradford on Avon, also still has to complete his first round and is currently on one-under after six holes.

After opening up his round with a par, Howell hit trouble as early as the second hole with a bogey five.

Although he immediately claimed that back with a birdie at the short third hole, another bogey followed at the next – this time a six at the fourth.

And that was all the action the Broome Manor man was able to get in before conditions once again took a turn for the worse and saw play curtailed for the day.

Canter had much steadier fortunes on a difficult opening day and opened up with a par after teeing off at the 10th hole.

He was soon in red figures after a birdie at number 11 before putting together a run of four further pars in succession.