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Poulter contends after firing ace

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Replay: Poulter's hole-in-one at 16

England's Ian Poulter made an impressive start to the 72nd Masters with an opening two-under 70 which included a hole-in-one on the 16th.

Poulter, 32, set the early clubhouse pace with a single birdie on the front nine and then a bogey on 17 after his ace for an eagle on the 170-yard 16th.

"There was an instant adrenaline rush. An unbelievable buzz. Probably the biggest I've had," he said.

"It was a pretty flawless ball-striking round, probably one of my best rounds."

Fellow Englishman Justin Rose and South African Trevor Immelman share a one-shot lead at four under after rounds of 68, while Brian Bateman, Brandt Snedeker and England's Lee Westwood are at three under.

Poulter, who tied for 13th last year, his best finish in three appearances, landed his eight iron pin high to within 20 feet on the 16th and then watched the ball roll downwhill into the cup.

It was the 21st hole-in-one at the Masters and the first since South African Trevor Immelman holed out on 16 in 2005.

Tiger laughs all the time about it. He keeps calling me number two

Ian Poulter

Poulter hit the headlines earlier this year when he was quoted in a golf magazine saying that when he fulfils his potential "it will be just me and Tiger".

The Hitchin pro claims he was taken out of context, and said it was "pretty difficult" for him in the aftermath.

But the world number 24 told reporters at Augusta: "I wasn't comparing anything to Tiger. I wasn't going to say I was going to go and win 84 tournaments on the PGA Tour. I haven't won one yet.

"It's not about proving anybody wrong to be honest. I fully believe in my own ability.

"I still think reaching world number two is achievable. If I work hard and keep playing like this, who knows?"

606: DEBATE

Poulter, a seven-times winner on the European Tour, added: "I'm born probably within 10 days of Tiger, and you know, I was still working in the pro shop when he was out playing golf.

"It just gave me a massive buzz to go out and start practising harder and harder and harder 10 years ago, and it's nice to be playing golf in the same arena that he's playing golf in right now, because you have to test yourself."

Poulter said Woods has harboured no hard feelings following the publication of the controversial article.

"Tiger laughs all the time about it. He keeps calling me number two, which is nice," he said. "So I guess I just got to keep playing better golf and I might get there."


see also
Round one as it happened
11 Apr 08 |  Golf
Quotes of the day
10 Apr 08 |  Golf
Masters leaderboard
10 Apr 08 |  Golf
Masters day one photos
10 Apr 08 |  Golf
Ken Brown's Augusta preview
07 Apr 08 |  Golf
Tom and Ben explore Augusta
06 Apr 08 |  Golf


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