Poulter put out by clicking crowd

Ian Poulter for one will be pleased that golf fans are being told to stop using mobile phones as well as cameras at Carnoustie in Scotland, venue for the British Open, next month.

Ian Poulter for one will be pleased that golf fans are being told to stop using mobile phones as well as cameras at Carnoustie in Scotland, venue for the British Open, next month.

Poulter reckons he had to back off from shots at least 10 times because of untimely clicks during his opening 70 in the French Open at Le Golf National near Paris on Thursday.

“It was the worst I’ve ever known it,” said the world number 31, the highest-ranked player taking part in the event.

“I was distracted a couple of times when I was playing and I had to start speaking to the crowd because it got that bad.”

On one under par Poulter finished the day five behind surprise leaders Kyron Sullivan and James Kamte.

Sullivan is a 31-year-old from Cardiff ranked 421st in the world and 176th on the European Order of Merit in this his rookie season.

He graduated from the “second division” Challenge Tour at the end of last year, but is trying not to fall into the trap from which others embarking on the main circuit undoubtedly suffer.

“A lot of guys from the Challenge Tour are thinking about making the cut, but you have to put that out of your mind and try to get into contention,” he said.

Sullivan could expect more attention today than he received during his 65. Playing in the very last group there were three people in a stand meant for 300 behind the 18th green when he finished at around 7.45pm local time.

South African Kamte is 386th in the world and qualified for the French Open earlier this month.

As a youngster he was a highly promising striker known as “The Cobra” for his deadly finishing.

“Eighty per cent of people I knew were very surprised when I switched sports. They thought I could be big in soccer, but thank God I chose golf.”

He will also be thanking Ernie Els if he goes on to win.

“Ernie did everything for us with his Foundation for under-privileged kids,” added Kamte. “He flew us around, paid for our accommodation, gave us pocket money, gave us clubs. We were absolutely spoilt and they had to drag me out.”

Three members of last year’s Ryder Cup team are in the field. Colin Montgomerie had a 68 – 14 better than his previous tournament record at the US Open two weeks ago – while Paul McGinley fell back from five under to two under and Lee Westwood recovered from three over to level par.

Hobbling with a left knee problem – he is having a scan on Monday – Westwood said: “It’s a shame I couldn’t give it everything because I’m hitting the ball well. I’ve not really completed a swing all day. It's been getting worse recently and I felt it tweak on the range.”

Caddie Dave Renwick even suggested he pull out, but the Worksop golfer said such a thing “never entered my head”.

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