PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Ian Poulter is enjoying his new digs - his newly built home and his spot atop the leaderboard Thursday in The Players Championship.
Poulter, finally finished with a house at Lake Nona that took nearly three years to build, ran off four birdies around the turn and birdied all the par 5s at TPC Sawgrass for a 7-under 65 and a share of the lead with Martin Laird.
Laird, playing in tougher conditions in the afternoon, was the only player without a bogey in the opening round. He birdied his final hole - the par-5 ninth - to catch Poulter.
They were a shot ahead of Blake Adams, with Ben Crane and Kevin Na another shot behind. The 11 players at 68 included Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar, Ben Curtis and FedEx champion Bill Haas. There were 27 players who shot in the 60s, and more than half the field broke par.
Tiger Woods was not among them. Not even close.
He opened with a bogey and was never under par in a round of 74. Coming off a rare missed cut at Quail Hollow, Woods was in jeopardy of missing consecutive cuts for the first time in his career, and leaving before The Players Championship was over for the third straight year.
Rory McIlroy, the world No. 1, was 2 under for his round until coming up just short of the island-green 17th and making double bogey. He wound up with a 72, while Phil Mickelson had a 71 in his first round after being inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Lee Westwood had a 71, irritated only because of seven birdies on his card.
MADEIRA ISLANDS OPEN
SANTO DA SERRA, Madeira Islands (AP) - Spain's Alvaro Velasco shot an 8-under 64 to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the European Tour's Madeira Islands Open.
Englishmen Oliver Wilson, Tommy Fleetwood and Ben Parker were tied for second along with Swedes Joakim Largergren and Magnus Carlsson and Denmark's Morten Orum Madsen.