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Golf | European Tour

Poulter back in Ballantine's hunt



Ian Poulter fired six birdies on the way to a second-round five-under 67 in benign conditions at Blackstone Golf Club on Friday to put himself firmly in the hunt for the Ballantine's Championship.

England's world number 25 admitted that he had not made the most of his chances on a frustrating first day when he shot three-over 75, but believes he is back in the hunt after improving his score to two-under after 36 holes, five shots behind clubhouse leader Bernd Wiesberger.

"Yeah, yesterday was frustrating," Poulter said. "I generally played pretty solid golf, I like it windy which is exactly what we got yesterday and I never took advantage at all.

"I hit a couple of poor shots and three three-putts put me three-over for the day.

"But this morning, flat calm, the sun's out and it was definitely scoreable out there today. I gave myself plenty of looks at birdie and managed to take a few."

Poulter recalled last year's winner Lee Westwood, who only just scraped past the cut before going on to triumph, and said that he will need to be aggressive over the weekend to reel in the leaders.

"Westy (Westwood) made the cut on the number last year and went on to win. So I'm certainly not going to be sitting back. I need to put birdies in the bag, really.

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"It's about going out there and making as many birdies as I can, and this golf course gives it up on the par fives. Certainly you have to take advantage of those.

"There's a couple of keyholes which can play pretty tricky. Get through those and I think there's plenty of birdie opportunities."

Tied at two-under after the morning rounds was fellow former Ryder Cup star Paul Casey, who is finding his way back to form after dislocating his shoulder in January while snowboarding.

Casey, who shot 70 on the first day, had to make do with a level-par 72 on Friday, a round which left him a little disappointed.

"A lot of pars today. I guess I'm a little frustrated with it. I left a few shots out there."

Casey had a 7:30am tee time and felt that a lack of sleep and the bitter cold of the early morning affected him after a late finish Thursday night.

"By the time we got back to hotel last night it was after 8pm and when you're waking up at four in the morning, well I'm someone for 10, 12 hours sleep.

"I slept in the car on the way here. It was exceedingly cold this morning for the first hour and I didn't swing as freely as I would have liked.

"After that it was wonderful, I just never really got going."

Casey knows what he needs to do to put himself in with a shot at the title.

"Need to make a few more putts, but that will come over the weekend," he concluded.

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