World number one struggles at Masters

England’s Ian Poulter fired a 6-under-par, 65 for a one shot lead while world number one, Luke Donald, limped to a 2-under round 69 on the opening day of the JBWere Masters.

Poulter, ranked 28th in the world and a winner of eleven tournaments, recorded six birdies on a day conducive towards low scoring at Victoria Golf Club in Melbourne.

Luke Donald Luke Donald (Credit: Anthony Powter)

“I’m finding my way around the golf course and I guess I’ve done it pretty well today,” said Poulter.

“The only mistake I made was a three putt from about 20 feet on the 11th. I managed to make a couple of great up and downs.”

World number one Luke Donald managed two birdies and struggled to build momentum in his first professional tournament in Australia.

“Obviously a perfect day for scoring,” said Donald following his opening round 69.

“I hit it quite well on the back nine, my front nine, just made no putts. Then again two birdies, no bogeys – could have been a lot worse, could have been a little bit better. But something to build off.”

The world number one is four strokes behind Poulter.

Peter Lonard, Matthew Griffin, Kieran Pratt, Jarrod Lyle, Matthew Giles and New Zealand’s Mahal Pearce were all tied for third on 4-under-par.

With Tiger Woods not competing this JBWere Masters takes on a different feeling. You would not go so far as saying the buzz factor is lacking – just the tournament has a different mood.

Perspective needs to be taken regarding Donald’s efforts, yet the pulling power of the Englishman is clearly different to the “Woods factor” which at previous JBWere Masters had crowds packing the fairways during practice rounds and the car parks full by 7.00am on the opening day.

Donald is the first player to win both the American and European money lists in the same year and has been No.1 for 29 weeks – only Woods and Greg Norman have held the position for a longer consecutive stretch.

Donald clearly the world’s number one at present and it’s worth appreciating what he’s achieved this season.

That alone is worth watching and following Donald this week at Victoria and you’d expect the fan crazy Melbournian sports followers to appreciate such.

That and the ever fashion statement that is Ian Poulter – those pants are not for the faint hearted.