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Poulter Primed for the Weekend

NEWPORT, Wales -- Ian Poulter posted a 5-under 67 Friday to take the outright lead after the second round of The Celtic Manor Resort Wales Open. Poulter moved to 12-under-par 132, two shots clear of Welshman Phillip Price.
Darren Fichardt finished alone in third at 9-under-par 135. He was followed by Mark McNulty at 8-under-par 136.
Poulter, who has struggled through not only difficulties on the course in recent weeks but a current bout with tonsillitis, has shown signs of brilliance over the first two days at the Wentwood Hills Course.
'I feel more myself,' said Poulter. 'More energy and felt stronger.'
The Englishman shared the lead with Nick O'Hern after the opening round and got things going on Friday with a birdie at the second. He added a birdie at the sixth and dropped his second shot inside seven feet for a birdie at the par-4 eighth.
At the par-3 ninth, Poulter hit his tee shot to 15 feet for another birdie to make the turn at minus-11.
Poulter coasted at even-par over his next eight holes until he reached the par-5 18th. The 27-year-old sent his second shot just short of the green and chipped his third to three feet. He rolled home the putt for a closing birdie and a two-shot edge heading into the weekend.
'I just went out and played the same as yesterday. Hit plenty of fairways and greens and gave myself lots of chances,' said Poulter. 'I felt I hit a lot of good putts coming in but you can't hole all of them.'
For Poulter, this is the first time since the Italian Open that he will play the weekend. He went a stretch of three starts without a sub-70 round, and now he has gone two days in a row in the 60s.
Price fired a 6-under 66 to lead the Welsh contingency. He collected two birdies over his first five holes and picked up another birdie at the 13th.
The 36-year-old hit his approach inside two feet for a kick-in birdie at the par-4 15th and drained a 10-footer at the 17th to reach 9-under.
Price closed his bogey-free round with a birdie at the last to take the early clubhouse lead at 10-under. Although he was caught by Poulter, Price is ready for the weekend.
'I was steady all through the game today, that was the secret,' said Price. 'I didn't get in any trouble, hit a few good approach shots and took my chances.'
O'Hern managed an even-par 72 to remain at 7-under par for the tournament. The Australian was joined by Richard Green, Jesus Maria Arruti, Jonathan Lomas, Andrew Coltart and Santiago Luna in a tie for fifth.
David Drysdale, Ricardo Gonzalez and Carlos Rodiles are one shot further back at 6-under-par 138.
The 36-hole cut fell at 1-under-par 143 with several big names missing the weekend, including Colin Montgomerie and local favorite Ian Woosnam, who finished at even-par 144.

Related Links
  • Full-field scores from the Celtic Manor Resort Wales Open
  • Full coverage of the Celtic Manor Resort Wales Open