Thursday, 17 May 2012
 Ian Poulter  (Getty Images)
Ian Poulter (Getty Images)
Ian Poulter began his title defence in style at the Volvo World Match Play Championship with a 3 and 2 victory over Australian John Senden.

The Englishman, who faces Portugal Masters champion Tom Lewis in his second and final group game tomorrow, went ahead with a birdie at the long third before salvaging a half on the next after driving into the lake.

The Ryder Cup star, who has also won the WGC-Accenture Match Play, then went three ahead with a ten foot putt at the ninth and five footer on the short 12th.

“I said John was going to be a very steady opponent, and he was on front nine,” he said.

“I think he made nine straight pars. I took advantage of the par five third hole, and I think if anything, on the next hole with driving it in the water, I think he played a little bit too safe. It's a driveable par four and he should have tried to knock it on.”

Poulter admitted that the half gained on the fourth was a turning point in the contest.

“I think there's a way to play, which it puts you under pressure, but sometimes you have to stand up and hit a shot that you probably wouldn't think about hitting,” he added.

“Prime example, I hit it in the water on four. If it was me, I would have had a go at the green. It's a good target and a good yardage for him, I would have thought, but he didn't, he decided to take an easy option, take any mistake out of play. But I'm going to be 120 yards away from the hole, and I'm going to have a good chance to make four. He should have tried to make an easy three and win that hole - so that's the fun of match play.

“It doesn't matter if you are not hitting good shots. If you believe you can hit the next shot good, and hole the next putt, then it doesn't make any difference. That's what Seve had.”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
-SENDEN, JohnAUS-
-SNEDEKER, BrandtUSA-
-VILLEGAS, CamiloCOL-
-LAWRIE, PaulSCO-
-CLARKE, DarrenNIR-
-COLSAERTS, NicolasBEL-
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