Half-man, half-mattress. That's how Ian Poulter described himself as he discussed a day which began in the earliest of early hours, but finished with the Englishman in contention to win the Australian PGA at Royal Pines on Queensland's Gold Coast.
Poulter was forced to set his alarm for 3.30am as he returned to the course to finish a first round that was interrupted by a thunderstorm on Thursday. He tiptoed past his wife and kids, warmed up and closed the book on his opening round with three pars.
He backed that up with six birdies and a pair of bogeys as he signed for a second round 68, leaving him eight shots behind leader Andrew Dodt at four under.
"I love my bed," Poulter said.
"Someone who's half man/half mattress does not get out of bed at 3.30am to play golf, let alone to go to airport to get to a tournament.
"That was a very early morning - I think that the earliest wake-up call I've ever had in 17 years on tour. I didn't manage to get any jetlag at all flying from America, but a tee time's managed to give me jetlag.
"Kind of an unusual situation, but I guess there's a first for everything"
He handled the early rise with aplomb as he took only 28 putts in his second round, having dusted off an old putter in an attempt to generate some positive vibes.
"I felt I played really nicely in the last five events I've played," he said.
"I just haven't holed my fair share of putts. I started to do that a
little bit today. A little frustrated not to finish the round off strong once I
made five birdies on my outward nine this morning ... but I'm in position.
"It's a tricky course. You can make mistakes."
Poulter arrived on the Gold Coast having recently spent 11 weeks on the sidelines recovering from a foot surgery. He played the Venetian Macau Open in mid-October, finishing in a share of 28th, before spending a month on the US PGA Tour where his best result was a tie for 17th at the CIMB Classic.
The Australian PGA has given him a chance to finish a difficult year on a positive note. So immersed has he been in the tournament, he is yet to leave the hotel since his arrival on Tuesday morning.
Plans were afoot for an afternoon sleep and then dinner at a nice restaurant after his second round, but the focus is very much on making his trip to the Gold Coast count.
"I think it's in position," Poulter said.
"I've been playing really nicely, very comfortable off the tee, very comfortable from the fairway, hitting a lot of decent shots and getting a lot of looks and that's what I need to convert, start converting some of them.
"Then I will find myself in position and getting back to the good old days."
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