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Dublin: 18 °C Wednesday 24 July, 2019
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Purple reign: Ian Poulter surges into the lead in Australia

Motivated by end-of-season sponsor bonuses, the Englishman is on the prowl for valuable ranking points.

Image: Kin Cheung/AP/Press Association Images

IAN POULTER LOOKS like he’s in the mood to pick up some valuable end-of-season points this weekend.

The Englishman overshadowed his compatriot and world number one Luke Donald as he took the lead after the first round of the Australian Masters this morning.

Wearing purple shoes to match his purple outfit, he fired a six-under-par 65 at Victoria Golf Club to earn a one-stroke lead over home favourite Ashley Hall.

Chasing Poulter are Jarrod Lyle, Peter Lonard and Matthew Giles, who are among half a dozen players on 67. A win Down Under would send Poulter to 17th and performance-based sponsor incentives would kick in.

“It’s not about where you finish on one Order of Merit (list) because I’m playing two Order of Merits and that’s obviously very difficult,” he said afterwards. “So they have to find a way to pay me the right amount and that’s the easiest way to do so. It’s based on world ranking points.

And, understandably, after a good day at the office, Poulter admitted he enjoyed the lay-out of the Melbourne course.

“You don’t have to hit driver on every tee shot, which is refreshing. It’s so nice to come to a good golf course, lots of irons off tees, a lot of positional play and, obviously, the second shot (approach) is crucial, that your distance control is spot on,” Poulter said afterwards.

“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-four or par-five and the odd par-three.

“I enjoy this type of golf, putting it in play and giving yourself chances (to make birdie). I like the way this golf course sets up for me.

“The only mistake I made was a three-putt from 20 feet on my second hole, the 11th. I missed a couple of greens in the wrong spots, but managed to make a couple of great up-and-downs (for par).”

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