IAN POULTER made positive everybody knew there may be a couple of 43 12 months outdated with designs on a inexperienced jacket, with a typical response to the newest outbreak of Tigermania.
The Augusta galleries have been nonetheless buzzing after Tiger Woods opened with a thrill-a-minute 70 when Poulter seized centre stage.
The Ryder Cup hero has by no means been a popularity of reputations – properly aside from one, as illustrated by his well-known comment that when he performs to his full potential, “it’s simply me and Tiger”.
He might wish to embody reigning US Open and USPGA champ Brooks Kopeka, winner of three of the final seven Majors and clearly hungry for one more one after one other scorching begin.
Poulter was at his bristling, chest-thumping finest as he burst onto the leaderboard with a superb 4 underneath par 68.
The Englishman, who sits two photographs behind first-round chief Brooks Koepka, mentioned: “I performed nice at this time and gave myself loads of possibilities.
“I’ve performed many rounds right here and developing a few weeks in the past I had a relaxed feeling and loved the golf course for what it was.
“I really feel comfy right here and know what I have to do and the place to hit it.
“A few the pins have been troublesome, 14 was actual sneaky, shall we embrace.”
Poulter had simply began his spherical when a mighty roar echoed round Augusta, to let everybody know Tiger was on the prowl once more.
The massive crowds had simply bought what they wished most, the sight of Woods’ title again on the enormous scoreboards dotted throughout the property.
READY TO CHARGE
Woods, 43, had made a birdie on the par 5 13th to get to 2 underneath par, and at that stage he was up right into a share of third place, only one shot behind the early pacesetters.
The 13th is located on one of the crucial distant components of the course, however the cheers could possibly be heard all the way in which again within the clubhouse.
And it bought even louder as Woods produced an important escape from the timber on 14 to hit the inexperienced – after which poured in a curling 25 footer for birdie, to assert a share of the early lead.
The trademark fist pump that greeted his birdie at 14 was one other glimpse of the outdated Tiger.
He slipped out of the logjam on the high with a bogey on the 17th, and signed for a two underneath par 70.
Butt Woods nonetheless took loads of encouragement from the very fact he began with the identical rating I n every of his first three Masters victories – he recovered from a gap 74 to assert his most up-to-date inexperienced jacket in 2005.
He mentioned: “I really feel fairly good about that spherical, I felt like I performed properly and I did all of the issues I wanted to do to submit quantity. I drove it properly, hit some good iron photographs, and my pace was good on the greens.
“I’ve shot this quantity earlier than and received three of my 4 coats, so hopefully I can do it once more. However we nonetheless have a protracted strategy to go.
“I really feel like my physique’s good and my sport’s good, it is sharp, so simply bought to go on the market and execute and I bought to do the correct issues It is a matter of selecting your spots and when to be aggressive.
“The wind’s purported to stand up any further, so I’ve my work minimize out for me the remainder of the week – and so does everybody else.”
Woods has solely managed to go decrease within the opening spherical as soon as in 21 earlier visits to Augusta.
That was in 2010, and a 4 underneath par 68 didn’t do him a lot good then – he completed tied fourth.
TIGER ELECTRIC BUT MCILROY STRUGGLES
The hulabaloo surrounding Woods within the group forward of him appeared to get up pre-tournament favorite Rory McIlroy, who was enjoying some dozy golf as he slipped to 2 over par after 12 holes.
That left him in a share of 67th place among the many 87-strong area, and at that time the pre-tournament favorite’s desires of finishing the profession Grand Slam on the fifth try appeared to belong solely in fantasy land.
However McIlroy immediately discovered the shape that has made him simply the most popular participant on the planet in 2019 – solely to lose it once more on the worst attainable second.
His 327 yards drive on the 13th left him little greater than flick with a brief iron to the par 5 13th, and a two putt birdie bought him off and working.
He made quick work of the 14th too however there have been groans from his followers as he missed an eight footer to get to stage par
It was a short lived blip although, as one other monster drive down the 15th left him lower than 200 yards to the flag.
However his ball had scuttled into the timber, and it regarded just like the world No three may need to put up in need of the lake in entrance of the inexperienced.
However McIlroy noticed a niche and despatched a towering iron shot flying onto the again of the inexperienced. Two extra putts and he had repaired the early injury – and he was not performed but.
His tee shot on the quick 16th was nothing particular – however the 35 footer he sank for birdie definitely was.
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But it has usually often been a case of one step forward, two steps back for McIlroy since he won the last of his four Major titles in 2014. And sadly, that was the case again here as he bogeyed 17 and 18 to slip back to one over par.
No Major seems to be complete without a Jason Day injury story, and it did not take long for this one to follow the familiar trend.
Day had no sooner carved his tees shot into the trees first hole than the physio was called to the scene, and got to work on the former world No 1, who was stretched flat out on a towel placed over the pine straw. He was able to continue after treatment.