Poulter hits the front in Scotland
Ian Poulter has given himself an excellent chance of breaking a lengthy winless drought after grabbing a share of the Scottish Open lead on Saturday.
With wild and windy conditions the order of the day, tee times were brought forward to try and avoid the worst of the weather.
Englishman Poulter was able to keep it steady with a one-under-par 71 to take his total to nine under par.
That was good enough for a share of top spot alongside countryman Callum Shinkwin and Australian Andrew Dodt.
— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) July 15, 2017
A birdie at the first was wiped out by a drop shot at the long fifth, although two more birdies at the seventh and eighth saw Poulter make a great recovery.
Eight pars and a bogey was all he could manage on the back nine, but that was a respectable performance considering the challenge the Dundonald Links course was providing.
Poulter hasn't won anywhere in the world since the 2012 WGC-HSBC Champions, but he did finish second at the Players Championship back in May after he rediscovered some much needed form – and having only narrowly regained his Tour card. Last year, he spent four months on the sidelines with a foot injury.
After 54 holes
-9 🇬🇧 Poulter
-9 🇦🇺 Dodt
-9 🇬🇧 Shinkwin
-7 🇬🇧 Sullivan
-6 🇸🇪 Carlsson
-6 🇮🇪 Dunne
-6 🇳🇿 Fox
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) July 15, 2017
Newcomer Shinkwin could only manage a level-par 72 but that was a decent score in the conditions, while Dodt added a 71 to lift himself into a tie for the lead.
The trio are two shots clear of Andy Sullivan, who made the day's biggest move at the top thanks to a superb 67.
Sullivan is one shot ahead of three others – Paul Dunne, Johan Carlsson and Ryan Fox.
As many as nine players follow in a tie for eighth, four shots adrift, including American duo Matt Kuchar and Rickie Fowler, who had rounds of 73 and 74 respectively.
Rory McIlroy leads the way in Abu Dhabi as he eyes overdue victory
McIlroy will have to keep his Ryder Cup team-mates at bay if he is to claim the trophy.
Tyrrell Hatton dominant as Rory McIlroy falters in Abu Dhabi
Hatton led by five shots at the end of a second weather-affected day.
Phil Mickelson on Tiger’s latest surgery: ‘I feel bad because golf should be a game of a lifetime’
Mickelson admitted he was saddened by the news of Woods’ latest back surgery.
Rory McIlroy makes brilliant start to fog-affected Abu Dhabi Championship
McIlroy has a remarkable record in Abu Dhabi with four second-place finishes.
Rory McIlroy shines in Abu Dhabi to take first-round lead following flawless 64
McIlroy has a remarkable record in Abu Dhabi with four second-place finishes, three thirds and a fifth in his last nine starts, but has never won.
Justin Thomas on end of Ralph Lauren deal: ‘They moved on so that’s what I’m doing as well’
Justin Thomas said he was upset by...
My last win feels a long time ago – Rory McIlroy aiming to start year on a high
McIlroy has not tasted victory since November 2019.
Rory McIlroy insists Justin Thomas will ‘try to be better’ after homophobic slur
World number three Thomas was heard using a derogatory word towards himself after missing a par putt in Hawaii.
Rory McIlroy backs Tiger Woods to make quick recovery from latest back surgery
McIlroy expects the American to be fit for the Masters in April.