Poulter in contention Down Under

15/11/2012 08:42:17
Ian Poulter  (Getty Images)
Ian Poulter (Getty Images)
Queenslander Matthew Guyatt upstaged his more fancied rivals to claim the outright lead after the opening day of the Australian Masters in Melbourne, but tournament favourites Adam Scott and Ian Poulter are just two shots back.

Guyatt opened up his advantage courtesy of a seven under 65, with Scott and Poulter sharing second place with New Zealand’s Michael Hendry on five under after solid opening rounds.

There is a group of six players - led by Australian duo Peter O'Malley and Paul Gow - a further shot adrift at four under, while Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell could only manage a 71 to be tied for 20th.

The day belonged to Guyatt, who had a hot putter throughout his round and only narrowly missed the course record of 64 held jointly by Anthony Painter (1994), Robert Allenby (2000) and Kurt Barnes (2010) by one shot.

The 37 year old strung together a trio of birdies in his opening nine to make the turn at minus three and then picked up another shot at the easy par five first - his tenth - to move within one stroke of Scott in the clubhouse lead.

Guyatt then made another three consecutive birdies to take the outright lead, with the pick of those being at the eighth, where he rolled in a putt from over 20 feet to move to seven under.

Scott was out bright and early and managed to make six birdies - including five in seven holes on his second nine - and dropped just the one shot.

It was a case of what could have been for Scott, with the 32 year old excellent from tee to green, but often let down at the final hurdle by his renowned broomstick putter.

The same can arguably be said for Poulter, with the Englishman looking just at home at Kingston Heath as he did when he won at the Victoria Golf Club last year.

Poulter picked up six birdies, with a dropped shot at the par four 16th the only blemish on his card as he attempts to become just the second man after Greg Norman to defend the title.

McDowell seemingly couldn't get anything going during his round, with the World Number 24 able to make just two birdies in good scoring conditions during the morning.