Poulter proud to be back in the mix
Ian Poulter's encouraging return to form continued at the Open Championship on Thursday, as he opened with an impressive three-under-par 67.
A few months ago, the Englishman looked in serious danger of losing his PGA Tour card. He played in only 13 events in 2016 as the result of a foot injury, and didn't earn enough money to remain exempt in the tournaments he did play.
But Poulter gained an unexpected reprieve as the result of a discrepancy in the points structure for players competing with a medical exemption, and he's been taking full advantage of his good fortune ever since.
After finishing tied for second at The Players Championship in May, he came through qualifying for the Open at Woburn, his home course. At last week's Scottish Open, he was tied for the lead after three rounds.
And at Royal Birkdale on Thursday, Poulter again played himself into contention with a rock-solid opening 67 at the Open Championship – his lowest ever opening round in a major.
67 for Poulter ✍🏼
His lowest ever opening round in a Major (54 starts). pic.twitter.com/jCqO9Ojmjw
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) 20 July 2017
"I'm proud of the way I've been able to refocus, get things back on the straight and narrow, clear away some of the noise in the background, and get back to really focusing hard on what I need to do to get the level of golf back that I think I can play," said Poulter, who was forced to watch the Open from the commentary box last year.
"I'm definitely playing with a bit more confidence and that's definitely showed over the last couple of months.
Highlights of Poulter's round on Thursday, which featured four birdies and just one bogey, was a birdie at the par-5 17th from the bunker and a clutch seven-footer for par at the last, which was warmly received by the crowd as Poulter shook his fist and high-fived his 13-year-old son.
— The Open (@TheOpen) 20 July 2017
Clearly, Poulter is enjoying being back in the spotlight – and back in the mix.
"It's too easy to get down when you're not playing those big tournaments," he said. "And it's easy to get down when golf seems to be pretty difficult. It makes it even more special to be back here today playing."
Romain Langasque equals course record to lead Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
The Frenchman recovered from an early bogey with two eagles and eight birdies to reach 11 under par.
Rory McIlroy bemoans ‘ugly year’ and seeks solution to divide in golf world
The arrival of Saudi-backed LIV Golf series has fractured the game in 2022.
On this day in 2014 – Europe retain Ryder Cup with Gleneagles victory
The Gleneagles victory was Europe’s eighth win in 10 matches.
‘Is this where I am going to die?’ Nicolas Colsaerts on kidney disorder battle
The Belgian is the focus of attention this week as he belatedly defends the Cazoo Open de France title he won three years ago.
On this day in 2008: Ryder Cup misery in Louisville for Nick Faldo’s Europe team
Faldo was heavily criticised for his tactics in the closing singles.
Open champion Cameron Smith wins first LIV trophy in just second start
The world number two is the highest-ranked player to join the rebel series.
Robert MacIntyre beats Matt Fitzpatrick in play-off to win Italian Open
MacIntyre birdied the first extra hole at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, the venue for next year’s Ryder Cup.
Matt Fitzpatrick holds narrow lead ahead of final round at Italian Open
Rory McIlroy and Aaron Rai are one shot off the pace.
Rory McIlroy picks up the pace to claim lead ahead of Matt Fitzpatrick in Rome
McIlroy’s group looked unlikely to complete their second rounds after taking three hours to play nine holes.
Matt Fitzpatrick leads way at Italian Open despite ‘inconsistent’ display
The US Open champion held a one-shot lead over fellow Englishman Tom Lewis,