Poulter in clubhouse lead in Oz

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Ian Poulter has secured the clubhouse lead at 6-under midway through the opening round of the Australian Masters.

Ian Poulter has secured the clubhouse lead at 6-under midway through the opening round of the JBWere Australian Masters at Victoria Golf Club.

Resplendant in lilac tartan trousers, lilac sweater and matching lilac shoes, the colourful Poulter dropped a shot at his second hole, the 11th, when he three-putted from 20 feet.

But he more than made up for it with seven birdies, four on the front and three on the back as he went clear of the field by one shot with a 65.

Poulter was still finding his way around Victoria after playing it for the first time in yesterday’s pro-am, but declared himself happy with the course.

“I enjoy playing that kind of golf,” Poulter said following his round.

“A number of the courses we play week in week out it seems like you are taking your driver head cover off on every single par four, par five and the odd the par three.

“It’s nice not to do that. It’s nice to hit the odd iron off the tee.

“So I like the way this golf course sets up for me.”

Australians Peter Lonard and Jarrod Lyle and New Zealand’s Mahal Pearce were among a group of five players on four under, while world number one Luke Donald fired a bogey-free 69 to sit at two under and four off the pace.

Defending champion Stuart Appleby returned a one-under 70 after deciding at the last minute that he was fit enough to play.

The 40-year-old had been in doubt with an ongoing back injury and played with a back brace that clearly visible under his black shirt.

Scotland’s James Byrne was three over, as was Matteo Manassero of Italy.

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