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Poulter fuels England's World bid

 

By Phil Casey

Ryder Cup team-mates Ian Poulter and Tyrrell Hatton fired a 10-under par 62 to give England a share of the lead after the opening round of the World Cup of Golf.

Poulter and Hatton combined for 10 birdies, including eight in the space of 11 holes from the seventh, to end the day at the top alongside host nation Australia and Korea at Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne.

Defending champions Denmark, represented again by Thorbjorn Olesen and Soren Kjeldsen, are just a shot off the lead alongside Belgium's Thomas Pieters and Thomas Detry and the Malaysian pair of Gavin Green and Ben Leong.

Ireland's Shane Lowry and Paul Dunne are two shots off the pace after a 64, matched by India's Gaganjeet Bhullar and Anirban Lahiri.

"We're quite happy with that," Poulter said. "On a day like today you have to make birdies. We made enough to get on the top of the board, which is the goal.

"We dovetailed nicely. When one was out of position, the other one was in position and that's exactly what you have to do in fourballs. Foursomes is a completely different game.

"We are happy with the start but there is a lot of golf to be played over the next three days."

Australia, who are represented by Marc Leishman and Cam Smith, recorded an eagle and eight birdies in their 62, and Leishman said: "It was very important to get off to a good start.

"You don't want to be fighting back. We combined pretty well."

Meanwhile, England's Aaron Rai took advantage of a change in conditions to claim a share of the lead after the opening round of the Honma Hong Kong Open.

After India's Arjun Atwal had set the early clubhouse target with a four-under 66 on a cool and windy morning in Fanling, calmer weather helped later starters Rai, Jason Scrivener and Yusaku Miyazato to shoot 65 and move to the top of the leaderboard.

"It was good. I think we were lucky with the weather," Rai admitted after a flawless round.

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