• Open de France, Round One

Donald and Poulter struggle in Paris

ESPN staff
July 4, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Luke Donald fared better than Ian Poulter on day one © AP
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Open de France leaderboard

Luke Donald and Ian Poulter recovered from sluggish starts at the Open de France to minimise the damage to their opening rounds in Paris.

Former world No. 1 Donald carded a level par 71, while Poulter ended the day on two-over with a round of 73, but the pair trail clubhouse leader Anders Hansen, who fired a superb 66 to finish on five-under.

With both Donald and Poulter beginning on the back nine, it was the former who fared the better of the pair, starting with a birdie on the par-4 10th.

While Donald landed seven pars in a row, Poulter dropped a shot on the 13th but immediately made amends on the following hole to stroke in a birdie.

However, Poulter then bumped into trouble on the final three holes of his first nine, hitting consecutive double bogeys on the 16th and 17th and a bogey on the 18th.

Donald went one better than Poulter and suffered on the 18th after needing seven shots to complete the par-4 hole after finding the water with his third shot.

Afterwards, the Englishmen raised their levels, with Poulter not dropping anymore shots and making three birdies, and Donald getting four birdies coupled with two bogeys.

"I obviously played the 18th poorly but other than that, there were a lot of good swings," Donald said.

"The course demands a lot of precision. If you are a little bit off, it can bite you. And it bit me on 18.

"The rough is thickish but there is a decent amount of first cut. The fairways aren't that wide but they give you eight to 10 yards of first cut, which is pretty minimal [thickness]. Then it gets pretty deep, then it gets that you can't find it. So, varying degrees.

"I think the course is set up well. It is set up pretty tough so you are not going to see a lot of low scores. I like the way it is playing and the weather forecast is good so it should get firmer and tougher as the weekend goes on.

"The whole course is pretty good. There is a lot of drama on this course, you need to keep your wits about you all the way round."

One man who was not so pleased with the course was former champion Thomas Levet, who hit out over the set-up after scoring a five-over 76.

"To me it was not interesting out there. Collectively in our group we lost eight balls and that cannot be right. To me the rough was dangerous," the Frenchman said.

Stephen Gallacher was on course to be amongst the leaders, but the Scot encountered three bogeys on his final three holes after making six birdies and is three-under.

Graeme McDowell is two-under with a round of 69, with world No. 5 Matt Kuchar on one-under, and former PGA Championships winner Martin Kaymer on three-under after hitting a 68.

Romain Wattel is one shot off leader Hansen, but Victor Dubuisson will be disappointed with his end to the round after the Frenchman was level with Hansen before a double bogey undone his solid work to leave him on three-over.

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