Ian Poulter (Getty Images)
Ian Poulter enjoyed something of a rollercoaster opening round to his US Open Championship at Merion before signing for a 71 to finish alongside good friend Justin Rose.
The Ryder Cup star was three under par after three holes and led during a lengthy storm delay, but eventually slipped back to one over.
“It's brutal,” said Poulter. “The long holes are severely long. Yes, we're making birdies on those short holes, but look what we have to contend with out there on those long holes
. It's not easy.
“The rough's thick and you get into some of those greens, they're still running 13, even though we have had a downpour today. It's easy to let the ball get away from you.
“It's disappointing after obviously being three under through three, but it's fine. It's well positioned and I'm sure there's a lot of guys that have played themselves out of this golf tournament after one round and I haven't done that.
“I always knew this golf course was going to throw birdies at you, and I always knew this golf course was going to throw some bogeys. It's fun in a kind of up and down way
, because that's what it's going to be. No one is going to get around this golf course without making mistakes; you have to manage them really, really well to put yourself on the board with a good score.”
In contrast to his fellow Englishman, Rose fought his way back from four over with three birdies in his last five holes.
“I think it is a good start,” he said. “I looked like going five over par there on the fifth and I really clawed that round back. You can’t win a US Open on a Thursday but you can certainly lose one. Even when I was four over and struggling to make bogey on five I knew I just had to stay patient.
“To shoot 71, I feel I’m right in the tournament. I stayed patient and got my reward at the end today. It’s a long hard week ahead. It’s not the greatest start but it certainly not the worst. It’s probably a B+, a good start.”