Ian Poulter made good on his goal to upstage fellow Briton Luke Donald at the Australian Masters, shooting a sparkling six-under-par 65 to take a one-shot lead after the first round yesterday.
Both players soaked up the sunshine in sublime conditions at Melbourne’s Victoria Golf Club, but it was the smartly dressed Poulter turning the most heads as he notched seven birdies to edge early pace-setter Ashley Hall of Australia.
World No. 1 Donald rolled in only two birdies and struggled to build momentum in his first professional tournament in Australia, but displayed enough of his trademark control to finish with a blemish-free 69, four strokes behind.
Resplendent in a pair of tartan trousers and a violet sweater, Poulter delighted in the short sandbelt course that places a premium on tactics and smart iron-play.
“It’s always nice to go out and play well after playing a golf course that you have never seen before until the day before,” the flamboyant 35-year-old said. “I missed a couple of greens in the wrong spots, but managed to make a couple of great up-and-downs.”
“It’s refreshing because a number of the courses we play week in week out, it just seems like you are taking the driver head-cover off on every single par-four or par-five, and the odd par-three. So it’s nice not to do that,” he added.
Poulter, on a mission in Melbourne to lift his 28th ranking at the end of an inconsistent year, three-putted for his lone bogey on the par-four 11th, his second hole, but clicked into gear with a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-four 15th.
That sparked a run of five birdies in six holes, highlighted by a sublime bunker shot on the par-four first that cleared another sand-trap before settling within two feet of the pin.
Donald, seeking tips from the Melbourne sandbelt courses for his golf architecture ambitions, struggled on the greens and rued his failure to make hay while the sun shone.
“Obviously a perfect day for scoring. I hit it quite well on the back nine, my front nine, just made no putts,” said the Englishman, who finishes the season as the first player to win both the US and European tour money crowns in the same year.
Hall, a burly 28-year-old with only two minor tournament wins in the local tour to his credit, briefly threatened to steal both the Britons’ thunder with a barnstorming 29 on his first nine holes, but stumbled with a bogey and a double-bogey in his last five.
Holder Stuart Appleby shrugged off a twinge in his lower back to card a one-under 70, while former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy was a further shot adrift on 71.
Italian teenager Matteo Manassero, the youngest winner on the European Tour, is 11 off the pace after struggling to a 76.
Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is buying the Forum for US$400 million, ending the billionaire’s legal fight with Madison Square Garden Co (MSG) and clearing the way to build a new arena for his NBA team down the street in Inglewood, California. Ballmer on Tuesday announced his cash purchase of the venerated arena. Ballmer, a former Microsoft executive, and Clippers vice chairman Dennis Wong are making the transaction through CAPSS LLC, a newly formed entity that would continue to operate the Forum as a live music venue. “This is an unprecedented time, but we believe in our collective future,” Ballmer said.
EXPENDITURE: Tokyo Games organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said that ‘additional expenses are going to be quite massive’ to reschedule the Olympics The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is working with sports bodies to arrange a July-to-August window next year for the postponed Tokyo Olympics and hopes to confirm the schedule within a month, Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun reported yesterday. John Coates, head of the IOC’s coordination commission for the Tokyo Olympics, told the newspaper that the Games would have to be held between the tennis Grand Slams of Wimbledon, scheduled to end in mid-July, and the US Open, which starts in late August. “We want to more or less finalize the dates in four weeks’ time,” the newspaper quoted Coates as saying. Coates, who is also
PROUD, BUT BOWING OUT: The Dallas center missed all of 2018 due to Guillain-Barre syndrome, but Travis Frederick returned to be a standout again last season Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick on Monday stunningly announced his retirement. Frederick, who turned 29 on Wednesday last week, was a Pro Bowl selection in five of his six NFL seasons. Frederick revealed his retirement in a lengthy letter, beginning it by writing: “After much consideration, discussion, and reflection, I have decided to retire from football. This was not an easy decision.” Frederick cited his bout with autoimmune disease Guillain-Barre syndrome as a factor. He missed the 2018 season due to the illness in which the body’s immune system attacks the nervous system, but he returned to be a standout again last
When two Spanish soccer players took to the controls of FIFA 20 after the COVID-19 pandemic saw their La Liga match canceled, a stadium-sized virtual audience watched online. The huge digital crowd last week is part of a spectacular boom for the digital gaming industry, as record numbers flock to online servers for distraction, entertainment and friendship with the “real world” seemingly falling apart. Real Betis Balompie striker Borja Iglesias kicked the winning goal using his own digital likeness in the 6-5 battle against Sevilla, which was broadcast on popular video game streaming platform Twitch. It took place at the same time the