Late mistake costs Poulter
A double bogey at the last left Ian Poulter with a share of the lead after the first round of a Tiger-less Chevron World Challenge.
A double bogey at the last hole left Ian Poulter in a share of the lead with Zach Johnson at the end of the first round of a Tiger-less Chevron World Challenge in California.
With the world number one staying away from his own tournament, which annually benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation, following a car crash last Friday and subsequent speculation about his private life, ticket holders at Sherwood Country Club near Los Angeles were offered refunds in his absence.
Those who chose to attend anyway watched England’s Poulter lead the 18-man field for most of his round, only to miss the fairway off the 18th tee on the way to a double bogey which left him with a four-under 68, tied with American former Masters champion Johnson.
“It’s four under par and I’m disappointed,” said Poulter, who began with five birdies in eight holes.
“Yeah I’m leading but I should have been way clear. I’m hitting my irons very, very well and I’m driving the ball in position. I’m giving myself a lot of chances.
“This is week six in a row for me so maybe a little bit of concentration slipping out there on the golf course might be the reason why I made three three-putts today.”
Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, the winner here in 2002, lies third following a 69 with Jim Furyk, US PGA champion YE Yang and Open champion Stewart Cink a shot behind having each carded 70s.
“There’s plenty of good guys here and plenty of winners here as well so it’s nice to have some sort of track record on the course,” Harrington said
“I feel good about my chances going forward.”
Newly crowned Race to Dubai winner Lee Westwood, the world number four, briefly shared the lead with his compatriot Poulter at five under before falling away on the back nine to one under having posted an opening 71, including a double bogey at the last.
“I played pretty well around the front nine, it’s just a shame I didn’t finish it off,” Westwood said.
“I left a lot of good shots out there and if you get bad shots out there it’s going to penalise you.
“So I got what I deserved in the end with a double bogey at the last.”
Westwood found a wooded area to the right of the fairway off the 18th tee and on an uphill lie and lost his footing on his downswing.
“I’ve just pulled something, not much I don’t think. My back foot went as I came into the ball and it did hurt but I should be all right.”
Westwood will start the second round alongside Americans Anthony Kim, Sean O’Hair and Steve Stricker, the world number three, and also Graeme McDowell, Woods’ last-minute replacement in the field.
The Northern Irishman, handed a late chance to jump back into the world’s top 50 from his current ranking of 55, made a slow start but sparked into life with a long birdie putt at the par-three 15th.
Germany’s Martin Kaymer finished with a one-over 73 while England’s Paul Casey, who has played only twice since aggravating a rib injury and withdrawing from the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at the start of August, posted a three-over-par 75.
US Open day one: Rory McIlroy off to fast start as Justin Thomas takes the lead
McIlroy shot an opening round three-under 67 while Thomas carded a five-under 65.
Rory McIlroy flying high after opening round of US Open at Winged Foot
The Northern Irishman is two shots behind leader Justin Thomas, who shot a five-under-par 65 at Winged Foot.
A little more relaxation brings a little more action for Rory McIlroy at US Open
The Northern Irishman shot 67 on the opening day to sit two behind clubhouse leader Justin Thomas.
Prayers answered for Rory McIlroy as US Open hopeful makes speedy start
The Northern Irishman is two shots off the lead after an opening 67 at Winged Foot.
WATCH: Tiger, Rory, Rahm and DJ on what makes Winged Foot so difficult
Golf’s big buns give their thoughts on the tough test that lies ahead at the US Open.
WATCH: Social media star pays tribute to Mickelson with special US Open song
Take a listen to the most heartfelt and emotional song about Phil Mickelson ever created.
All eyes on USGA when the 120th US Open gets under way at Winged Foot
The fact that last year’s championship took place without controversy over the set up of the course was a welcome relief for the organisation.
Tiger Woods ranks Winged Foot as one of the most difficult courses ever
Tiger Woods is under no illusions as to the challenges facing the field when the US Open tees off at Winged Foot on Thursday.