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Poulter out to weather a storm and end title wait



Ian Poulter (Tess Derry/PA)

Ian Poulter (Tess Derry/PA)

Ian Poulter (Tess Derry/PA)

Ian Poulter is ready to battle the elements and a lack of adrenaline as he seeks a first European Tour title for eight years at the £5.4m ASI Scottish Open.

Poulter added a second round of 66 to his opening 67 at the Renaissance Club for a halfway total of nine under par which was matched by playing partner and overnight leader Lee Westwood.

Westwood could only follow Thursday's brilliant 62 with a 71 to fall two shots behind Australia's Lucas Herbert, despite the players with late-early tee times benefiting from considerably easier conditions over the first two days. Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell carded a second-round 74 to finish three over and consequently miss the cut.

Poulter, who has been sharing a house with former US Open champion McDowell this week, said: "We're probably having more fun than the other guys, but it is strange.

"I'm on site, but there are a lot of guys in the Marine Hotel (in North Berwick) and the others are in Edinburgh.

"The bubble is spread out and that's not easy. A few months ago we didn't think it would be happening at all so all credit to those who have made it happen.

"It's nice to be in contention and good to come back, play and support the Tour.

"It's great that we have these events on right now, to be able to showcase the Tour a bit and I'm not thinking anything about Saturday bar bringing an umbrella and a pair of waterproofs.

"The weather forecast looks horrific, 20mph winds and a couple of inches of rain. You can be blown off the course easily, but we're at the right end of the leaderboard to try and batten down the hatches, dig in deep and hold strong."

Plans for 650 spectators to be allowed on site on each of the last two days had to be abandoned following a strengthening of coronavirus restrictions and Ryder Cup talisman Poulter is keenly aware of their absence.

"I love sport and it just doesn't feel the same at the moment as we can't get people together," Poulter added. "The sooner we can do that the better it is for all sports. We can get the real buzz. We're playing golf with no adrenaline and that's difficult."

Westwood made the ideal start to his second round with a birdie on the 10th, his opening hole, but bogeyed the next two and dropped another shot on the par-five 16th before battling back to shoot level par.

"I was actually pleased, really," the 47-year-old said.

"I felt like I didn't have much go my way. I ran a lot of putts close."

Belfast Telegraph