Melbourne: Title-holder Ian Poulter's wish for more wind at the Australian Masters was delivered in spades on Friday, but the Englishman was furious with himself after a scratchy even-par 72 left him five strokes off the pace after the second round.
Joint-second overnight after perfect conditions during Thursday's opening round, Poulter watched his two-stroke deficit to unheralded leader Matthew Guyatt blow out to five as the Kingston Heath course bared its teeth on a gusty day. "The course plays much different in the wind. It's a completely different course," a stone-faced Poulter told reporters greenside after cancelling out three birdies with three bogeys. "I'm frustrated. I'm not going to stand here laughing, am I? I've shot level par and I'm disappointed. I'm not going to be standing here very jolly, am I? I've left shots out there on the golf course. I'm five off the lead but I'm pissed off with my round of golf. Simple."
World number 16 Poulter thrived in blustery conditions to win last year's tournament by three strokes at nearby Victoria Golf Club and had said he had hoped for more of the same weather at Kingston Heath on Melbourne's famed sandbelt.
With showers and more windy conditions forecast, Poulter was unfazed by the challenge to peg back the lead over the weekend, having made up huge ground to win his second World Golf Championship victory in Shenzhen, China, earlier this month. "I was nine back going into HSBC Champions," said Poulter, referring to the final weekend in Shenzhen, where he shot a pair of 65s to win by two strokes. "I'm going straight back to the hotel, I'm chilling out."