Poulter shoots 65 for one-shot lead

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 15, 2011

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 24: Ian Poulter of England hits his tee-shot on the third hole during the final round of The Abu Dhabi Golf Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club on January 24, 2010 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Ian Poulter recovered from an early bogey to shoot seven birdies in a 6-under 65 and take a one-stroke lead after the first round at the Australian Masters on Thursday. Poulter was one shot clear of local golfer Ashley Hall and two ahead of a group of six including former champion Peter Lonard. In his first professional tournament in Australia, top-ranked Luke Donald opened with a 69 and was in share of 11th place. Donald, named the US PGA tour player of the year on Tuesday, last week became the first player to win the money title on the PGA Tour and European Tour in the same season. ''Two birdies, no bogeys. It could have been a lot worse,'' Donald said. ''It could have been better. Something to build off.'' Donald was level with Greg Chalmers, who is trying to become the second player to complete the Australian Triple Crown after sweeping the Australian Open and Australian PGA last month. Robert Allenby accomplished the feat in 2005. Poulter, playing the back nine first, had a bogey on the par-4 11th, then birdied five of the next six holes. He closed with a birdie at the par-5 ninth. The English golfer had only seen the Victoria Golf Club course for the first time on Wednesday, but obviously liked what he saw. ''The only mistake I made today was a three-putt from about 20 feet on my second hole. So that's probably the only frustrating thing,'' Poulter said. ''I hit a lot of good golf shots.'' Poulter said he was enjoying the different layout. ''It's refreshing because a number of the courses we play week in week out it just seems like you are taking the driver headcover off on every single par 4 or par 5, and the odd par 3,'' he said. ''It's nice to hit the odd iron off the tee. I enjoy that type of golf, putting it in play and giving yourself chances. I like the way this golf course sets up for me.'' Hall got as low as 8 under before a wild finish with a double-bogey on his next-to-last hole, the eighth. The 28-year-old Hall's round contained an eagle, six birdies, a bogey and the double bogey. ''The finish was a little bit tough. I probably took a little bit of an unwarranted risk on the 8th but I'm still happy with the way I played,'' he said. Matteo Manassero, the 18-year-old Italian prodigy, shot 76 and needs a big improvement in his second round if he hopes to make the cut in his first tournament in Australia.
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