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June 14, 2018

Ian Poulter

Southampton, New York

Q. 1 under, joint leader in the clubhouse. How does that feel?
IAN POULTER: It feels extremely good. It's extremely difficult out there today. I played nine holes yesterday in the rain. The greens were slow. They were extremely receptive, and today within a period of two or three hours, blue sky, 20, 25 mile an hour winds. The greens are drying out very, very quickly. They seem to have given them a bit of a trim as well this morning.

They've rolled them, so downhill, downwind putts are extremely fast. Trying to leave yourself in the right side of the hole to some of these pin locations is extremely difficult.

Q. Three birdies, two bogeys. Most impressively, I have to say, on the 11th. Talk us through this par 3, what your mindset was like on the tee at this par 3.
IAN POULTER: Danny Willett teed off first. He tried to draw it in and came up just short. As you can see there, I hit it real smooth. I tried to hit like a five-yard draw into the real tight left pin location, and I can't believe it. Looking now, I probably would have gone four feet past.

Q. Club selection was what?
IAN POULTER: It was a 7 iron. It was a very soft 7 iron.

17 here for par. Hit a poor tee shot into the wind. Short-sided myself. Hit a decent recovery. Shot to about seven feet and obviously rolled that one in.

So it was nice. It's nice to get in the clubhouse with a red number in the first round of a U.S. Open. I don't think I've done it before. So it's great to do it.

Q. You played in your first U.S. Open here at Shinnecock Hills in 2004. You didn't enjoy the experience, according to Holly Sonders. You said something to her earlier.
IAN POULTER: I didn't enjoy it at all. I have to say, through most of the U.S. Opens, I haven't enjoyed very many, to be honest. They're difficult. They're hot. They're stressful. Feels like you're pulling teeth every single hole you play. How I've got any left, I don't really know. They always set out very difficult. It's supposed to be tough.

And this week, I've changed my mindset. I'm here to enjoy my golf this week, to play freely, to go out and just say -- you know, just go play golf. If I hit it in the rough, I hit it in the rough. I'm going to try and make par the hard way and just knock it -- just don't get too bogged down with it.

It's difficult. It's difficult for everyone. Today is just a good day, and I've got three tough days left.

Q. They do call it the ultimate test. Day one, you have passed with flying colors. Well done.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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