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May 21, 2021

Ian Poulter

Kiawah Island, South Carolina, USA

The Ocean Course at Kiawah

Flash Quotes

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Ian Poulter. Ian posted a second-round 2-under par-70 today. He's straight even par for the championship, currently tied for 23rd.

Really played well on the front nine, kind of really riding the wave there, and then you hit the tough holes, but overall really solid day for yourself.

IAN POULTER: Thank you. Yeah, the first 13 holes you're just trying to put something in the bank. When you've got this wind, northeasterly wind, that closing five, in very slightly from the left, it's just not very easy. You're aware of that going out, the first few holes are kind of in, but they're relatively short. You can still kind of have a few chances going out. They turn downwind for the last few holes on that front nine, and the par-5 is super reachable, and you've got some opportunities with wedge in your hand.

10, 11, play okay, providing you hit decent tee shots, and the last five holes have probably been shortened by 200 plus yards. So even with that -- moving us forward that far, it's a brutally difficult finish. Straight in, very slightly at times just off the left, and you're aiming at targets which if you pull it very slightly, you're in the dunes, and if you cut it, you're wet or on the beach.

It's intense. It's a long round of golf. There's a lot of waiting. Standing on the 17th tee, it was not the best wait, to be honest. It's not an easy hole as it is, but when you chuck a 15-minute wait in there and you're staring 3-iron or some form of a hybrid to that green, it's very difficult.

To get in the house without spilling too much over those last five was okay.

Q. You just described an incredibly difficult gauntlet of holes, but you still came in at 2-under. You must feel really good about the effort and the outcome.

IAN POULTER: Well, I was 6-under through 12, so whenever you're 6-under through 12 and you post 2-under par, it's frustrating, but if you take the average for the last five holes today, I don't know what it's going to be, but I would say the average is 4-over minimum, I would think. It's just playing that tough.

Guys are going to be hitting it in the tall grass on the beach, taking penalty drops, and hitting it in the water on 17. It's just intense. It really is, and that's from an up tee. We're up teed on that last five for a very good reason, and it's still playing that tough.

I mean, I looked at the board and Phil got off to a great start, as well, only dropped a couple coming in on that last stretch, which is under par, really. It's a tough test.

Q. You were 6-under at one point, but do you think a 6-under score is even possible out there today?

IAN POULTER: Anything is possible. But you're going to need to play that last five in level par, which I really don't see happening.

I got on to 13 and there was a scoreboard in the distance, and it was ironic, it says, Ian Poulter, 6-under through 12 and chasing down a course record, and I just started laughing to myself, like who in the world would write that and put that on a board with that last five holes to play? Yeah, I don't -- if anyone does shoot 6-under par, then major respect. It's incredible.

Q. Do you think the late-early start times helped you at all? Was it calmer at all this morning?

IAN POULTER: Well, I think for the first three holes we had it into an eight, ten mile an hour wind, which is really playable. You've got a par-5, short par-4. The 1st isn't very long as well, so you have so many chances. It feels like you've got so many chances in that opening 12, 13 holes, and it's very gettable. The greens were really receptive first thing this morning. It looked like they put quite a bit of water on them, and as you make that turn through 13, it's pretty interesting. It's fun in a kind of sick way.

Q. Given what you've said about those last five holes, if the forecast holds and it flips on Sunday, how will the dynamic change? Will they play that much easier, or will it still be a demanding stretch?

IAN POULTER: What, if they leave the tees where they are today and not chuck us back? Look, I hit a really, really, really good drive off 18. I had 224 front, 250 pin, which I calculated at 290, with 40 yards of strong into the wind. I've hit my best 3-wood -- driver, 3-wood, and that's us on a very forward tee. So I'm not long, but even not being long and still hitting the fairway, that closing stretch is just hard. I'm sure they're going to one day squeeze one of those tees a bit further back just for a good laugh.

Q. I'll let you define the word any way you want, but did you enjoy yourself today?

IAN POULTER: I'm a bit more -- like yeah, I did. We want a good test, right? We always want to test ourselves to the highest level. I think this is a super clever golf course. I think it's a very good designed golf course, played in this wind, and to be 6-under on any course at any stage, you're generally playing some good golf.

And even as difficult as that last five holes is, it's interesting. It tests a different part of the brain that gets switched on, which I don't get to use that often.

Q. But you used it.

IAN POULTER: It's not that big anyway. Yeah, I ventured there for 20 minutes.

Q. Along those lines, when w you're going to a place and all you hear is how tough it's going to be, do you personally kind of relish that?

IAN POULTER: Yeah, because this very much is a shot-maker's golf course. You can't be one-dimensional coming into this golf course and expect to get round with ease.

When you know you've got kind of the game to test yourself to this level when it's playing as tricky as it is and you're having to maneuver shots from right to left and left to right and try to keep it under the wind, it's great. It's a straight, but hard golf course.

Even in the practice rounds, playing it off the backs, it plays even more difficult, so you kind of get the sense before Thursday starts, even though you know the tees are going to be moved forward because it's not going to be fit for TV if we play it right off the backs on those closing five.

You already know by Thursday what you're going to get, especially in this wind direction.

THE MODERATOR: Ian, thanks. Go take a load off. I think you've earned it. Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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