Jul 15th, 2017
Poults takes share of the lead
On brutal Scottish Open moving day
Words: GolfPunk Photography: Getty Images
It has been four and a half years since Ian Poulter last won a tournament outright. But, after battling the elements, he has a three–way share of the lead at the Scottish Open.
Poults shot a one under 71, and sits alongside fellow Englishman Callum Shinkwin, and Australian Andrew Dodt on nine under.
The last of Poulter's 14 worldwide victories came at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in November 2012, although he did finish second at the Players Championship, in what has been a remarkable season of ups and downs for the 41–year–old.
The leading group is two clear of a returning–to–form Andy Sullivan, who somehow managed to shoot a 67 in unrelenting conditions.
Sullivan’s round was quite extraordinary in itself, especially his finish. He had four birdies on his front nine, and then another two on the 12th and 14th. But then he bogeyed the 16th, and double bogeyed the 17th, before eagling the par 5 18th. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!
Poulter described the conditions as "brutally tough", but made three birdies to offset bogeys on the 5th and 16th, and card a one under 71.
The conditions certainly got the better of some of the leading players. Padraig Harrington started the day with a share of the lead but shot a 79 to drop to T23.
Rickie Fowler shot a 74, leaving himself four shots behind the leaders, as he looks to add to his 2015 title.
But it was certainly not Luke Donald’s day, as he shot an 81 and is joint second last with Renato Paratore, one shot ahead of Sweden’s Peter Hanson.
Only fourteen players broke or bettered par out of a field of 65, a stat which really tells the story of a tough old day out on the links.
But what a great way to prepare for The Open! It looks like there’s going to wind and rain to contend with, albeit not on the level experienced today, so a brutal day at the Dundonald links could the leader’s a real edge at Royal Birkdale. 80/1 for Poults – I might just have some of that.