Poulter shoots a 65 to assume control

Updated: May 11, 2012

Britain’s Ian Poulter and Martin Laird shared the lead at the Players Championship after firing seven-under-par rounds of 65 in Thursday’s opening round.

World No 1 Rory McIlroy had to settle for an even-par 72 after finding water at the par-three 17th, famous for its island green, while Tiger Woods risks missing consecutive cuts for the first time as a pro after shooting a two-over 74.

World No 2 Luke Donald recovered to make even-par with birdies on the 16th and 17th, while defending champion KJ Choi shot a three-over 75.

Lee Westwood, ranked third in the world, finished the day one-under along with Phil Mickelson, the 2007 Players winner.