Perfect putting Poulter shares lead with Laird at Players Championship
Ponte Vedre Beach, FL, United States (AHN Sports) – Ian Poulter’s day at the Players Championship made his top 10 list of great rounds.
Poulter, the colorful Englishman, rode a hot putter on his final nine holes and shot a seven-under par 65 in the morning wave while Scotland’s Martin Laird had a bogey-free afternoon 65 of his own. The two share the first round lead at the Players Championship.
It was a day when the wind wasn’t a factor at the TPC Sawgrass. Poulter’s putting was his main factor.
“I had nine single putts,” is how he described his final nine holes, finishing on the front nine at the Stadium course. “I didn’t realize it until someone told me. It was a very, very good round of golf. That’s definitely, probably in the top 10 of the rounds of golf I’ve ever played.”
Poulter had eight birdies on the day and a single bogey while Laird didn’t have a blemish on his card. Like Poulter, he finished on the front nine and got up-and-down for birdie from just short of the green on the par five ninth to post his 65.
The two were a shot in front of Blake Adams, who was alone at 66 followed by Kevin Na and Ben Crane with 67s.
The world’s top-ranked players struggled. Rory McIlroy, the top-ranked youngster from Northern Ireland, shot an even-par 72 as did No. 2 Luke Donald. Third-ranked Lee Westwood opened with a 71 to tie with Phil Mickelson. Fifth-ranked Hunter Mahan posted a two-over par 74.
The woes of Tiger Woods continued. He found the going tough, made five bogeys during his round and finished two-over par at 74 and tied for 100th. “Any kind of momentum that I would build, I would shoot myself in the foot on the very next hole,” Woods lamented. “I just didn’t score.”
Woods will have to improve to make the 36-hole cut and he’ll have a more difficult set of greens in the afternoon as the putting surfaces are already firm.