Poulter away to a sizzling start
Ian Poulter has taken one shot clubhouse lead at the end of the first day of the storm-interrupted Barclays Singapore Open.
Ian Poulter has bounced back from a six-week break by grabbing a one shot clubhouse lead at the end of the first day of the storm-interrupted Barclays Singapore Open.
The flamboyant Englishman showed no signs of rustiness at the Sentosa Golf Club coming in, as he was, the back his lay-off, and shipped just a solitary bogey to card a five-under-par 66.
He tops the leaderboard by a shot from Ernie Els, a multiple winner of the event, and qualifier Chan Yih-shin of Chinese Taipei, who both posted 67s, but he might not still be there when at least half the field complete their opening rounds on Friday morning after a thunderstorm brought lightening and heavy rain and delayed the Thursday’s play for just under three hours and made it impossible to complete the round before nightfall set in.
Poulter, though, was safe in his hotel resting, with the Singapore Open marking the first tournament in a run from here of seven back-to-back events in Asia, the Middle-East and South Africa.
The 33-year-old last took to the course at the BMW Championship, the penultimate event of the FedEx Cup play-offs, in the middle of September which rounded off an encouraging PGA Tour season.
“I didn’t know what to expect this week. I have practised pretty hard over the last three weeks trying to get ready for seven weeks on the bounce,” said Poulter.
“It’s nice be able to come out fresh. To take some time off in the latter part of the year, do some good work and come out with some good intentions for the next five or six weeks.
“No matter how many balls as you hit on the range, you never know what it (your form) will be like when you come out to play and this is just my fourth round of golf in seven weeks.”
Poulter is currently ranked 29th in the Race to Dubai and is eager to boost his earnings while also make an early mark on the Ryder Cup points table, with Singapore kicking off a potentially lucrative run with next week’s new WGC HSBC Champions event in Shanghai and the Hong Kong Open leading up to the season-ending Dubai World Championship at the end of November.
“I am always looking for a win. Whether it’s European Tour, Asia or the PGA, I want to win every week,” added the world number 21.
“I have got myself in reasonable shape in the six weeks I have had off and hopefully I am going to have a strong finish to the year.
“I have seven tournaments, five of which have Ryder Cup points attached to them. So with that in mind, if I can play really solid in those counting five then I will be happy.
“Then there is the Race to Dubai and I have four more tournaments to count for that. If I can win and play solid then I will have a chance to catch a lot of people up because they are big tournaments.”
Dane Anders Hansen, currently 21st in the Race to Dubai, just one place ahead of Els, Japan’s Kodai Ichihara and Frenchman Thomas Levet, are all in touch with the leader at three under after opening rounds of 68.
Soren Kjeldsen is 10th in the Race to Dubai and will look to cement his place inside the lucrative top 15 by building on his first round 69, which left the Dane in a group including world number two Phil Mickelson.
Of the afternoon starters still on the course when darkness brought an end to the day’s play just before 7pm local time, China’s Liang Wen-chong and Ross McGowan have made the most impact on the leaderboard after progressing to two under, with Padraig Harrington level par through 10.
LATEST COMPLETED FIRST ROUND SCORES (Gbr & Irl unless stated, par 71):
Note: First round play has been suspended for the day due to weather conditions and will be resumed on Friday 7.40am:
66 Ian Poulter
67 Yin-shin Chan (Tpe), Ernie Els (Rsa)
68 Anders Hansen (Den), Kodai Ichihara (Jpn), Thomas Levet (Fra)
69 Phil Mickelson (USA), Soren Kjeldsen (Den), Niclas Fasth (Swe), Wen-Tang Lin (Tai), Chih-bing Lam (Sin), Jyoti Randhawa (Ind)
70 Wei Chih Lu (Tha), Alexander Noren (Swe), Rick Kulacz (Aus), David Howell, Ted Oh (Kor), Kenichi Kuboya (Jpn)
71 Danny Lee (Nzl), Nicholas Redfern, Graeme McDowell, Scott Barr (Aus), Jean-Francois Lucquin (Fra), Peter Lawrie
72 Seung-yul Noh (Kor), Scott Drummond, Mardan Mamat (Sin), Marcus Both (Aus), Justin Rose, Rafael Cabrera Bello (Spa), Danny Chia (Mal), Shigeki Maruyama (Jpn), Digvijay Singh (Ind), Adam Blyth (Aus)
73 Terry Pilkadaris (Aus), Johan Edfors (Swe), Thongchai Jaidee (Tha), Marc Warren, Prayad Marksaeng (Tha), Sang-moon Bae (Kor), David Bransdon (Aus), Gregory Bourdy (Fra), Gavin Flint (Aus), Paul McGinley
74 Mikael Lundberg (Swe), Mikko Ilonen (Fin), Steven Tiley, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra), Martin Rominger (Swi), Graeme Storm, Juvic Pagunsan (Phi), Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa), K J Choi (Kor), Keith Horne (Rsa), Antonio Lascuna (Phi)
75 Frankie Minoza (Phi), Jeppe Huldahl (Den), Tetsuya Haraguchi (Jpn), Mitchell Brown (Aus), Maarten Lafeber (Ned), Jonathan Leong (Sin), Peter Hedblom (Swe), Jason Knutzon (USA), Hendrik Buhrmann (Rsa), James Kamte (Rsa), Gregory Havret (Fra)
76 Bryan Saltus (USA), Michael Campbell (Nzl), Simon Griffiths, Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia (Ind), Chinnarat Phadungsil (Tha), Pablo Larrazabal (Spa)
77 David Gleeson (Aus), Kenji Cheung (Sin), Koh Deng Shan (Sin)
78 Sung Lee (Pkr), Mark Brown (Nzl)
79 Borworn Chaisri (Tha)
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