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Poulter well placed in title defence

ESPN staff
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Ian Poulter has begun well at Kingston Heath © PA Photos
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Ian Poulter has made a bright start to the defence of his Australian Masters title, sitting two shots off the lead at Kingston Heath.

Poulter and Graeme McDowell are two high-profile Europeans in the field and it is the Englishman who is flying the flag.

He made serene progress, with his only moment of alarm coming at the 16th when a tee shot found trouble and his hack out ended up in a bunker. A pressure eight-foot putt saw him drop only one shot and he added a birdie on 18 for a five-under 67.

"If the weather is benign like this, the golf course is going to give up a lot of birdies. You can expect to hole a lot of putts, the greens are perfect," Poulter said.

Poulter is sat alongside home favourite Adam Scott who bounced back from a slow start to knock in four birdies in a row on his back nine to sign for a 67.

"Realistically, I felt nine or 10 (under) was possible for the way I played today if everything went my way," Scott said. "I'm not complaining, it's a good start."

Scott and Poulter sit two shots adrift of leader Matthew Guyatt, while McDowell is six back at one-under.

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