Poulter struggling to make cut after opening 78
LIV Golf rebel Ian Poulter may well be wondering why he bothered launching a legal case to allow him to play in the Scottish Open after a poor first round of 78 left him in real danger of missing the cut.
The Englishman trailed leader Cameron Tringale – the American carded a stunning record-equalling nine-under-par 61- by 17 shots after the opening exchanges at The Renaissance Club and will need something extra special himself to tee it up over the weekend given he was 156th out of the 160 starters after the dust had settled.
Poulter, Justin Harding and Adrain Otaegui had all been hit with suspensions ahead of the DP World Tour descending on the East Lothian links but were able to play after gaining an injunction earlier this week.
The irony of Poulter’s struggles will not be lost on many, the shortened format of the Saudi-back LIV Golf Series ensuring there are no tournament cuts, while offering guaranteed appearance money.
The European Ryder Cup star had admitted in the build-up to the $8 million event this week that the controversy had affected his game – and it showed little sign of improving as he struggled to an eight-over-par opening round despite a birdie on the tenth, his first hole of the day.
South African Harding seemed to be less bothered by golf’s civil war, carding a bogey-free round of 65, five-under-par.
“I always thought it would be a bit tricky but didn’t realise it was going to be blown up as much as this,” he said. “I thought it might have been handled a bit better by all parties.
“I was a little upset I was told I could not play. I have supported the European Tour for a long period and I’m happy to continue to do so. I’ve not had too many issues (with other players). There’s times when it’s a little uncomfortable but we have to look after ourselves.”
Selected first round scores:
-9 Tringale (US); -6 Woodland (US); -5 Harding (SA); -4 Kitayama (US), R Hoejgaard (Den), Pereira (Chl). Others: -3 Ferguson (Sco); -2 Rahm (Spa); +3 R. McIntyre (Sco).