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February 23, 2017

Ian Poulter

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Q. Sum up the day for us?
IAN POULTER: Sum up the day. How many words would you like? Solid, I would have said. I played very well. Put it in position, a lot. Especially on the front nine which I went out with nine straight birdies, and that was a little frustrating. But I played well and I actually putted well. I hit my lines on the greens. Albeit it was a couple of lipouts and I was able to take a couple chances on the front side. Added up to 4-under par which is very acceptable on this golf course.

Q. Do you feel like you're ahead of schedule in your return?
IAN POULTER: I'm not really sure what schedule I'm supposed to be on, so I wouldn't say ahead or behind. I'm on borrowed time, is what I am on. Yeah, I need to perform well.

Q. What would be a successful tournament?
IAN POULTER: I don't know. I haven't really -- I haven't really thought about what would be -- I don't know. A win, would be nice. I have to think that I've got a chance, I really do. The situation I'm in, I have to be aggressive but I've got to be careful. I can't make many mistakes.

And you know, in some respects, you know, it kind of focuses the mind to hit shots, and you have to hit shots, and this is a golf course where you have to hit shots. You can't get away with grinding out around this golf course, as we've seen in the past.

So I'm not thinking about anything else apart from just play solid golf. Don't be silly. Try and take advantage of the par 5s. And when you've got wedge in hand or 9-iron, try and hit it close. And you've got to be careful on four or five holes on this golf course.

Q. When you started off with the par run, was it hard -- did you want to make something happen? Was it hard to stay patient?
IAN POULTER: Well, you know, I was level par through nine. I did have a quick look at the board, I think at the time 3-under was lying sixth. So I realized that the par 5 on the front side was downwind, so that's a good opportunity. You've got another couple attempts with wedge in hand on the front side; providing you don't make too many mistakes. There's a couple tricky holes on the front that you need to be careful. 5 and 6 you can slip up. If you played them cleanly, which I actually did, I played them 1-under, well ahead of the field, and I could put myself in a decent in position.

Q. You talk about trying to chase this medical exemption. There have been a couple occasions in your career, when you chase a spot for The Open or chasing a place in The Ryder Cup --
IAN POULTER: Different. Very different. I'm looking at it like I would like to be in a position with the six events I'm going to play to earn enough money which secures everything: Back in the Top-50, back in a position to be in The Open Championship, back in a position to enjoy the back half of the year.

So I'm trying not to get in the way of thinking, oh, I just need X. Because I don't need X. However I play anyway, I have to earn enough money to continue the season.

So if I play well in those six events, I've obviously got a great chance to do that. If I can win one of those six, then obviously it takes care of it and if I can win one of the first few, I can get into Augusta.

So there's a bigger picture, right. It's definitely not just medical. I'm obviously thinking, I don't want to miss Augusta. So I need to play well and I need to play well quickly.

Q. Does that close call here a couple years ago make it any easier to get back for a Sunday chance here?
IAN POULTER: I'd like to have another go at the cherry, put it this way. I found myself in a position obviously that week where I was a number of shots in front, and it's just a real shame not to convert those chances. They hurt, because you really should finish tournaments off when you're in positions like that. So if I'm in a chance on Sunday to grab hold, then I would love to finish it a little differently than a couple years ago

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