By Gareth Moorhouse

DAVID Howell is heading for Hong Kong high on confidence after his fourth place finish at the King Hassan II Trophy in Morocco.

The Swindon star shot five under par at Royal Golf Dar Es Salem last week, seven shots adrift of champion Padraig Harrington, to scoop $40,000 in prize money.

Howell will take next week off before jetting out to the Far East to compete in the UBS Hong Kong Open, where he will be looking to cement another finish at the right end of the leaderboard.

He said: "The tournament in Morocco was ideal because it was only a very small field.

"There were five or six good players out there but the rest were a little past their best.

"I knew if I played well I would have a chance of a decent finish.

"It was a professional performance over the weekend and nice to shoot under par on both days.

"That little bit of confidence you get from shooting under par was just what I needed."

After missing six cuts in his last seven European Tour events, Howell was relieved to learn there would be no halfway cut in Rabat.

With the pressure off, the man from Broome Manor shot two consecutive rounds of 71 to finish the tournament, the lowest weekend total of anybody in the field.

"The funny thing was I was actually swinging worse on Saturday and Sunday than when the tournament started," said Howell.

"I wasn't in great control of the ball, but I managed to play with a slight fade and did the best I could.

"In the last few months I have been fighting hard to correct my swing when maybe I should just be trying to get the ball around the golf course.

"Maybe that way I would have made a few more cuts."

Howell returned to Swindon this week to help dad Ray finally close the family antiques business in Old Town.

After a few days rest he will be back on the range preparing for the competition in Hong Kong, which starts on November 15.

If all goes to plan, Howell could also appear at the MasterCard Masters in Melbourne the following week.

"If I feel I'm doing better I might go to Melbourne, if not then I will call it a day for the year," said Howell.

"I might take that extra break just to get my head around things and then start planning for next year."