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June 14, 2018

Ian Poulter

Southampton, New York

THE MODERATOR: Ian Poulter, 1-under 69 round.

Q. Well done, Ian.
IAN POULTER: Thank you.

Q. Only two of you right now have finished in the red. How do you feel about the round?
IAN POULTER: Obviously felt pretty good. U.S. Open Golf hasn't been good for me through the years. It's the first one I've played in three years, and this is the first one I ever played back in '04. So to come here and enjoy the first round is really quite nice.

Q. How you did that?
IAN POULTER: I played exceptionally well. I played well. I played the par 3s well. I played 7 well, made 2, and obviously made 2 on 11. So to get through those two very tricky par 3s in four shots is well ahead of the game when you look at the average at the end of the day.

So playing the par 3s is key. Scrambling when you are out of position on this golf course is also key, and I did that well. So I limited the mistakes.

Q. Where you are at right now in terms of confidence? You've been playing really well recently, with a more recent win. Talk about psychologically where you are right now with your game.
IAN POULTER: I'm in a good place mentally. And that definitely, that definitely helps coming into this week. I mean, I arrived relatively late. I arrived Monday night, first look on Tuesday, played nine holes, played the front nine. Played the back nine yesterday in a bit of a drizzly rain.

And, you know, it was good to see the course, but I knew it would change overnight. Obviously, the greens were super soft yesterday afternoon or late morning. The greens were rolling slow.

But I knew, obviously, you know, coming out today, with a stiff, stiff wind, blue skies, the golf course was going to dry out, the greens were going to get quick, and they certainly -- they sped up around the front nine, and we had to be careful on the back nine.

Q. I'm sure you must have noticed how many of the big named players were way over par today. So as you're going around, what are you telling yourself about?
IAN POULTER: I didn't see. I mean, on these U.S. Open boards, you only really have about seven or eight names, and so I didn't -- I didn't see any of the scoring. I knew, from how I was playing, that it was going to be extremely difficult for everyone and, you know, I found the rough a few times and know how difficult it was for me to get back in position.

So I knew how hard it would be for everyone else, and this golf course is an extremely difficult course to play with no wind. Playing at 25-mile-an-hour wind is pretty stressful.

Q. Ian, you played a lot of windy tracks in your life, obviously. Where does today rate with other windy, tough days you've played?
IAN POULTER: I mean, it's up there. It's up there. Birkdale, you know, in The Open Championship in a real strong wind. You know, the difference today, I think, being you can still be relatively aggressive with how soft the greens were, but you just had to be super careful.

I mean, there are a couple of very tight pin locations cut on slopes about 3.7 or so percent, and that's extremely slopey, but they don't have an option. Several greens out there on the course, 7 and a number of the ones on the back nine, they're just extremely slopey.

So just trying to find the right side of the hole, even if it's 30 feet, is a great shot, and it takes the stress off. In terms of windy Majors, I mean, this is right up there right now.

Q. In the arc of your career, where is it going right now?
IAN POULTER: Say again?

Q. In the arc of your career, where is your game right now?
IAN POULTER: My game's good. I feel confident. I feel happy. I feel happy off the golf course. And it makes that a lot easier on the golf course. So I'm in a really good, good place. I don't want to get carried away. This is day one of four extremely tough days, and three bad holes on this golf course can take you home pretty quick.

So it's a great start is what it is, but there's a very long way to go in this golf tournament.

Q. Do you feel like it was playing better this morning versus this afternoon?
IAN POULTER: We're going to play tomorrow afternoon. It will be tricky tomorrow afternoon. So the draw is the draw. If it happens to be the better side of the draw, then, you know, you -- I've had it both ways. So, you know, evens itself out.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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