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October 30, 2009

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Poulter ahead in Singapore

BRITON Ian Poulter took a one-shot lead over Ernie Els at the Singapore Open yesterday before play was halted by darkness following a three-hour suspension due to lightning.

Poulter, who had six birdies, shot a five-under 66 at the par-71 Sentosa Golf Club, one stroke ahead of South African Els and Chinese Taipei qualifier Chan Yih-shin.

"It was nice," Poulter said. "There were no mistakes on the back nine and on my front nine, after I bogeyed the first, I started to hit some good shots."

Dane Anders Hansen, France's Thomas Levet and Kodai Ichihara of Japan were a stroke further back on three-under.

Phil Mickelson, who had an eagle and three birdies to go along with three bogeys for a 69, was in a group of seven players at two-under.

"I putted well today, and as the week goes on I think I will get better and better as I get accustomed to the speed of the greens," the American left-hander said.

Poulter is looking to move up the rankings of the European Tour's Race to Dubai, where he's currently in 29th place.

The Singapore Open is co-sanctioned by the European and Asian tours.

About half the field had not completed the first round when play was stopped by darkness. Earlier, play was suspended for three hours due to thunderstorms.

Irishman Padraig Harrington and Geoff Ogilvy of Australia were among the players who will finish the first round this morning.

In Casares, Spain, Scott Strange of Australia beat top-seeded Paul Casey of England by a hole at the World Match Play Championship yesterday.

American Ryder Cup player Anthony Kim was also a winner, beating two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen of South Africa 3 and 2.

Kim and Strange top Group A with two points each in the opening round-robin format to start the group stages.

Oliver Wilson of England beat Sergio Garcia of Spain by a hole, and Robert Allenby of Australia beat Martin Kaymer of Germany by a hole.

Wilson and Allenby top Group B with two points each.


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