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Poulter in contention in Memphis

ESPN staff
June 6, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Ian Poulter made a steady start to the event © Getty Images
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St. Jude Classic leaderboard

Ian Poulter made an encouraging start to the St. Jude Classic in Memphis after he carded a round of 69 to end on one-under.

The day did not start well for Poulter as he landed a double bogey on his first hole, which was followed by a bogey. Towards the end of his first nine, Poulter stroked in three consecutive birdies to climb the leaderboard, and with three more on the final nine holes he finished on one-under.

Poulter was joined on one-under by Padraig Harrington and Brian Davis, while Crowne Plaza champion Boo Weekley hit a 68 and is two-under.

The round ended with a six-way tie for the lead between Australians Nathan Green and Stuart Appleby on four-under par, alongside Americans Davis Love III, Martin Flores, Glen Day and Harris English.

Four-time major winner Phil Mickelson struggled on the opening day of the tournament after the American carded a one-over 71, and was left disappointed with his showing.

Mickelson began on the back nine with a birdie, but he soon hit trouble as two bogeys and a double in the space of three holes saw him slump to three-over.

The American recovered on the front nine with a run of three birdies on the first three holes, but Mickelson fell to one-over for the day with a bogey on his final hole.

"My short game was not good today," he said. "I made a mistake in some of my shot selection trying to hit some of the shots.

"I really feel like I'm striking the ball well. The score obviously isn't very good ... This is the first competitive round in a little while and I'm looking forward to [Friday's] round because I know that ball striking-wise, it's about as good as I've been striking it and I feel like there's a good round in me."

Swede Peter Hanson is one of an 11-strong group one shot off the lead at three-under.

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