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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 June, 2005, 23:19 GMT 00:19 UK
Casey & Poulter toil at Pinehurst
Ian Poulter
English duo Ian Poulter and Paul Casey made nightmare starts to the US Open, carding 77 and 85 respectively.

Casey finished double-bogey, triple-bogey, while Poulter dropped three shots in his first three holes.

England's David Howell and Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell both shot 74s, while Irish pair Paul McGinley and Padraig Harrington carded 76s.

And England's Simon Dyson and Scotland's Stephen Gallacher both carded 79s on their US Open debuts.

Despite his shocking 15-over-par round, Ryder Cup star Casey attempted to draw some positives.

"I became paralysed over the ball and was beating myself up on the course, but all you can try to do is smile and battle through it," he said.

"It wasn't fun for a while - it can't be when you don't know where the ball is going to go.

Inside I'm raging and I think it's best to get it out of my system now
Ian Poulter

"But I'm starting to hit good shots again and I'm always the optimist. The glass is always half full."

Poulter, meanwhile, was left fuming after his two-foot par putt on the first, his 10th, popped out following a similar incident on the 18th when another tiddler almost came back out.

Poulter called for the tournament director who told him the situation had been checked and the cups were considered fine.

"It has never happened to me before and I've only ever seen it once on a putting green, not in a tournament," said Poulter.

"I was shocked. I hit two perfect putts and you don't expect to see that.

"We're in a major golf tournament and I feel it's a shame. I was having a tough enough time without that.

"I could shoot three three-unders now and lose by a shot. If I do I'm not going to be very happy. And I'm choosing my words very carefully here.

"Inside I'm raging and I think it's best to get it out of my system now. The crowd went 'ooh' on the 18th and then it happens again and the ball does come out."

Interview: Ian Poulter


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