Luke Donald's and Lee Westwood's race to become world No 1 began in promising style yesterday as both shot rounds of four-under to feature high on their respective leaderboards. Certainly Martin Kaymer would have harboured a sense of foreboding at the form of the two Englishmen.
While Westwood lay two off the lead at the Indonesian Masters, Donald's 67 took him to within three of the early clubhouse lead at The Heritage set by Garrett Willis.
World No 3 Donald will assume the top spot should he win regardless of how Westwood does. He notched four birdies on his second nine at the Hilton Head course. The 33-year-old has finished third and second there in the last two years and when that is married to his run of four top-five placings in his last five events it is easy to see why he is so fancied.
More than 10,000 miles away in Jakarta it was a case of same old, same old for Westwood. He played wonderfully – until it came to the greens. But his new belly putter did help him to finish with two birdies for a 68, to put him on the heels of his playing partner, Bangladesh's Siddikur.
"It was solid but I was a bit frustrated," said the world No 2. "It has been the story for me so far, hitting it great tee to green, giving myself a lot of chances and not taking them."
Meanwhile, Ian Poulter is furious with a report on the official PGA Tour website which called him "overrated" and "a roster filler". The comment came in a tipping column for a fantasy league competition. "It's always worth a reminder that he's overrated in all formats," so it said about Poulter. "If all you took in were his numbers and results, free of his histrionics and branding, he's a roster filler at best."
Poulter – felt enraged enough to tweet the tipster direct. "I don't do bad for being overrated and just 'a roster filler,'" he wrote. "I just pay the bills." The Tour website later took down the controversial remarks, replacing them with a more prosaic verdict of his recent mediocre form.
At The Heritage, Poulter fired a 69, one worse than his playing partner, Graeme McDowell.