Ian Poulter in contention at Scottish Open due to ‘luck of the draw’

Ian Poulter admitted to feeling “guilty” after exploiting the luck of the draw to play himself into contention for a first European Tour title in eight years at the ASI Scottish Open.

Poulter added a second round of 66 to his opening 67 at the Renaissance Club for a halfway total of nine under par which was matched by playing partner and overnight leader Lee Westwood.

Westwood could only follow Thursday’s brilliant 62 with a 71 to fall two shots behind clubhouse leader Lucas Herbert, despite the players with late-early tee times benefiting from considerably easier conditions over the first two days.

“My draw has been pretty good and at times like this you do feel a bit guilty knowing you’ve had it but pretty good,” said Poulter, who won the Houston Open on the PGA Tour in 2018 but last tasted victory in a European Tour event in 2012.

“But when you’ve been on Tour for 20 years you’ve had your share of bad ones and hey-ho, it’s the luck of the draw.

“I’m happy with the start to the tournament. I made one or two mistakes yesterday but came out today and holed a few nice birdie putts and hit a few decent shots.

“I think I’ve done a pretty good job considering I’ve been used to playing golf in shorts and a t-shirt in America and this week I’ve got the waterproofs on.

“The forecast for the next two days is not good and this course could show its teeth. It’s going to be windy and rainy and this rough is thick.”

Westwood made the ideal start to his second round with a birdie on the 10th, his opening hole, but bogeyed the next two and dropped another shot on the par-five 16th before battling back to shoot level par.

“I was actually pleased, really,” the 47-year-old said. “I felt like I didn’t have much go my way. I missed a couple of short ones early on at 11 and 12, hit it in the bunker on 16, which was the only place you couldn’t go, made six in the end.

“I ran a lot of putts close and when I did hit it slightly offline, instead of finishing just in the semi (rough), it would finish in the thickest possible clump I could find.

“I’m pleased that I stuck with my game plan and 71 feels like an all right score. They toughened the course up. They put the flags on the side of hills. The pin positions were noticeably tougher, so I can only apologise to everybody for shooting 62 yesterday!”

Herbert, who won his first European Tour title in Dubai in January, carded seven birdies and one bogey in his 65 to set the clubhouse target on 11 under, a shot ahead of England’s Robert Rock.