Poulter boosts Cup hopes with 67

Ian Poulter, pictured, is trying to impress Paul McGinley

Ian Poulter, pictured, is trying to impress Paul McGinley

First published in National Sport News © by

Ian Poulter is hopeful he is beginning to put his "horrendous" year behind him and play himself onto Europe's Ryder Cup team after a strong opening round at the Deutsche Bank Championship.

The Englishman has toiled through the season with shoulder, back and wrist injuries and, after starting his campaign with three top-10s on the PGA Tour, has only been able to record one more since.

Poulter has also not recorded any top-10s on the European Tour this season and that has left him on the outside looking in and requiring one of Paul McGinley's captain's picks to make it onto the team for Gleneagles next month.

But an opening 67 in Boston will have certainly caught the Irishman's eye, with Poulter sitting just four shots behind first-round leader Ryan Palmer.

Luke Donald will also be hoping for a good week as he too is relying on a wildcard and the 36-year-old began his tournament with a steady two-under 69.

McGinley makes his choices on Tuesday with Stephen Gallacher still in with a chance of playing his way onto the team, and displacing Graeme McDowell in the process, with a top-two finish at the Italian Open.

McGinley's choices look to come down to three of Gallacher, McDowell, Poulter, Donald, Lee Westwood and Francesco Molinari.

But Poulter, who has won 12 of his 15 previous Ryder Cup clashes, was a talisman during Europe's win at Medinah in 2012 and finally feels his game, and his fitness, is coming together.

"I'm feeling pretty good I just shot four under," he told Sky Sports 4 following his round.

"I feel my body is holding up well, I feel the work I've done in the last six weeks has been really really good.

"I'm coming into, I would say, a bit of form at the right time to try and press on this week and then have a couple of good weeks to finish and then keep my fingers crossed and see what happens for the Ryder Cup.

"It's been a horrendous year for injuries. I've been forced to take time off because I can't practise as hard as I've wanted to.

"And that's not good because I like to get out there, I like to have fun on the golf course and I like to work hard and I haven't been able to do that this year until now.

"I'm putting the reps in now, I'm feeling good, the body is feeling a lot better than it was in the middle part of the season and hopefully we can finish the second part of this season real strong."

Away from the race to Gleneagles is the small matter of the second tournament in the FedEx Cup play-offs, with Palmer holding a two-shot lead over fellow American Keegan Bradley.

Bradley, who is a likely pick for the United States team in Scotland due to his successful partnership with Phil Mickelson, set the pace amongst the early starters but Palmer overtook him with a stunning 63.

Starting on the back nine, the 37-year-old bogeyed the first but then birdied six of his next eight, including a run of four from 15 to 18, to turn in 35.

Birdies on two, five and nine followed to send Palmer to the top of the leaderboard.

Bradley's 65 left him on his own in second, one shot clear of fellow Americans Webb Simpson and Chesson Hadley and Australian Jason Day.

Poulter was joined at four under by Swede Carl Petterson, Scot Russell Knox and Americans Bill Haas and Jordan Spieth.

World number one Rory McIlroy was one under after a 70 containing five birdies and four bogeys while FedEx Cup leader Hunter Mahan struggled to a two-over 73.

The top 70 in the FedEx Cup rankings after the Deutsche Bank Championship will advance to next week's BMW Championship, with the overall winner taking home a 10million US dollar bonus.

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