Foster in front in Delhi

Mark Foster enjoyed a strong start at the Johnnie Walker Classic today to take the lead after firing four birdies on the front nine, but Ian Poulter is in trouble after a run of three double bogeys in four holes.

Mark Foster enjoyed a strong start at the Johnnie Walker Classic today to take the lead after firing four birdies on the front nine, but Ian Poulter is in trouble after a run of three double bogeys in four holes.

Foster put his recent struggles behind him to move to the top of the leaderboard midway through the morning session at DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon, near Delhi.

The 32-year-old, who has failed to make the cut in his last three European Tour events, started on the front nine and birdied the third, fifth, sixth and eighth to move to four-under-par after nine holes.

Foster finished 52th on the Order of Merit last season, his highest position since turning professional in 1995, but has failed to sparkle so far this year.

He finished 34th in his season opener in Abu Dhabi but missed out on weekend play on his last three outings at the Qatar Masters, Dubai Desert Classic and Indian Masters.

Australian Adam Blyth had a share of the lead with Foster after making four birdies in five holes from the sixth through to the 10th on the 7,156-yard Arnold Palmer-designed course.

But a bogey on the 12th saw the 26-year-old from Brisbane drop back into a tie for second with compatriot Anthony Summers on three-under.

Home favourite Arjun Atwal was two-under after 12 holes, tied for fifth with compatriots Shiv Kapur and Shamim Khan, Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang, Greg Chalmers of Australia and Holland’s Robert-Jan Derksen.

Simon Wakefield was part of a large group on one-under while Simon Griffiths, Richard Finch, Oliver Wilson, Anthony Wall and Ireland’s Peter Lawrie were all on level par.

World number 11 Vijay Singh was one-over through 10 holes while Colin Montgomerie was two-over after 12.

Meanwhile, Poulter has plenty of work to do just to survive the cut after a disastrous front nine.

Starting on the 10th tee, the 32-year-old birdied his opening hole but gave back the stroke with a bogey two holes later.

Worse was to follow for the world number 24 as he double-bogeyed the 14th, 15th and 17th to reach the turn at six over.

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