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Ian Poulter shoots 69 after nearly walking off at BMW PGA because of back pain

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Ian Poulter’s back spasms were so debilitating Thursday that he considered walking off during the first round of the BMW Championship.

Poulter received treatment from a physiotherapist at Wentworth, but he fought through the discomfort. He was rewarded for his efforts, playing the last three holes in 4 under par to shoot 69 and sit just three shots off the lead in the European Tour’s flagship event.

“After four holes I was contemplating whether to call it a day,” Poulter told reporters afterward. “I didn’t want to do that. This is a big tournament, and I know I’m playing good golf.”

Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship

Coming off a tie for sixth at the Scottish Open, Poulter said his back started acting up last week at Renaissance Club. He had treatment earlier in the week but hasn’t experienced much relief.

On Thursday, Poulter was 1 over par through 13 holes, well off the pace, before a strong finish that saw him make back-to-back birdies on Nos. 16 and 17 before a 12-foot eagle on 18.

The plan afterward?

“Hopefully I can go and sit in the bath and get some Epsom salts and see if this will actually let up,” he said.