Poulter finally at ease with his fabulous wealth
By Conor Nagle under PGA Tour

Poulter only needed 10 putts on the back nine.

Self-confidence’s Ian Poulter shot a seven-under-par 65 to grab a share of the overnight lead on Thursday at the 2012 Players Championship.

The strongest indication yet that his star is once again on the rise, the Ryder Cup veteran attributed his success to the completion of a protracted family relocation.

According to Poulter, the move – from one to Florida mansion to another – compromised his ability to concentrate on the golf course.

“I felt myself on the golf course but being able to turn off and on – concentration levels – not thinking about anything else apart from golf, which is always handy. I do fill my brain full of lots of funny things at times.  It’s nice when that’s empty and I can do what it is I love to do, and that’s go out there and play golf…”

The 36-year-old, no stranger to ostentation, was characteristically unapologetic about his determination to enjoy the finer things in life.

“I’m not a moving freak. I just like nice things. So I guess, you know, you upgrade things as you go along… I’ve had a few upgrades over the years. But this one being a big one and being a stressful one – two years and nine months is abnormally long to build a house…

“Yeah, hopefully it kind of keeps me settled for a few more years (smiling).”

A round of seven-under-par is, by any yardstick, a spectacular round of golf, but Poulter’s route to the clubhouse was extra special, statistically speaking at least.

Beginning on the ninth hole, he enjoyed a streak of nine consecutive single-putt greens. The run only came to an end – six birdies later – on the 18th, when a regulation two-putt brought his tally for the back nine to 31 shots.

It brought back memories of his days as a junior in Milton Keynes.

“I can’t remember where it [it happened before], but I can recollect it.  Yeah, I think I’ve had 21 putts in a round of golf before; back to the good old days as a junior.  You have to hole it from everywhere – that was nice…

“But the surface this week is the best I’ve ever seen it.  You know, if you’ve got your eye in on these greens and you do start it online, you should expect a ball certainly from 20 feet and in to go in.  I mean, they are absolutely perfect.”

At seven-under-par for the tournament, Poulter begins the second round tied at the top of the leaderboard with Scotland’s Martin Laird. The pair enjoy a one-shot over Blake Adams.

Conor Nagle