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Ian Poulter, Zach Johnson share first-round lead at 'Tiger's Tournament'

December 3, 2009 |  3:49 pm
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Britain's Ian Poulter birdied four of the first six holes and was poised to capture the first-round lead in the Chevron World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks -- until he came to the finishing hole.

A wayward tee shot on the 18th led to a double-bogey for Poulter, dropping him to a 4-under 68 and a tie for first place with Zach Johnson.

"Yeah, I'm leading, but I should have been way clear" of the field, a disappointed Poulter said after walking off the 18th green.

The tournament -- which pays $1.35 million to the winner and includes only 18 players -- often is dubbed "Tiger's Tournament" because it benefits Tiger Woods' charity. But the world's No. 1 golfer isn't playing this week in the aftermath of his sensational personal troubles.

Poulter and Johnson held a one-shot lead over Padraig Harrington on a cool, sunny day at the par-72 Sherwood course. Three golfers were two behind after shooting 2-under 70s: Y.E. Yang, winner of this year's PGA Championship, British Open winner Stewart Cink and Jim Furyk.

Johnson said "the weather was perfect" and that the condition of the Jack Nicklaus-designed course was "fantastic," with "spongy" greens that held approach shots. "They've done a great job with the golf course," he said.

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: Ian Poulter studies a putt on the fifth hole at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks in the first round of the Chevron World Challenge. Credit: Reed Saxon / Associated Press

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