Ian Poulter has never had much success at the Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio, until he opened with an eight-under 62 Thursday. That was four shots better than Tiger Woods, who plays well at Firestone all the time.
Poulter was motivated by reading over his results and realizing he has never finished better than a tie for 13th. He made eight birdies in soft, vulnerable conditions for a one-shot lead over Rickie Fowler and Patrick Cantlay.
“Yeah, it fires me up,” Poulter said after saving par from a bunker on his last hole for a bogey-free round. “It’s frustrating to look at. I actually thought I had a better finish than that, so it really annoyed me. I wrote them all down, they were that bad. I was like, `Seriously, how can you play a good golf course this many times and not really have a result?’ So not to even finish in the top 10 is pretty poor.”
It’s just a start, but it was a good one.
His 62 matched the lowest first-round score at Firestone, first set by Adam Scott in 2011, and it was one off the course record for any round.
Back at Firestone for the first time in four years, Woods had his lowest opening round of the year. He shot a 66, but on a day like this, it was needed just to keep pace.
Forty-five players in the 71-man field broke par.
“I didn’t quite hit it as well as I wanted to,” Woods said. “But I fought out a score today, which was good.”
Minjee Lee shot a seven-under 65, including a right-to-left putt for eagle from 25 feet on the par-five 15th hole, to lead by one stroke after the first round at the Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham.
Michelle Wie withdrew midway through her first round because of a right hand injury.
Phil Mickelson confirmed a report that an exhibition match against Woods is set for Thanksgiving weekend in Las Vegas.