Joint-leader Poulter vows to go on offensive as he chases Akron victory

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Ian Poulter pledged to take a “super aggressive” approach into the final two rounds of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational after claiming a share of the halfway lead.

Overnight leader Poulter added a second round of 67 to his opening 62 at Firestone Country Club for a halfway total of 11 under par, which was matched by fellow Englishman Tommy Fleetwood and world number three Justin Thomas.

American Kyle Stanley and former world number one Jason Day are two shots off the lead on nine under, with Rory McIlroy another stroke back after holing a bunker shot on the 17th and also making a birdie on the last in his 67.

“I’m playing well, I feel aggressive,” Poulter told reporters in a post-round interview broadcast by the PGA Tour. “I feel like the greens, the way they are, you can be super aggressive and that’s what I need to do.

“I need to keep reminding myself that if I play aggressive it brings out some of the good golf in me and I need to continue that.”

Poulter is currently outside the automatic qualifying places for next month’s Ryder Cup but insists simply being in Thomas Bjorn’s side in Paris is all that matters.

“Frankly I don’t care,” the 42-year-old added. “As long as I’m putting the shirt on at the end of September I don’t mind whether I make it on merit or whether Thomas picks me.

“I would like to do enough to make it by my own good play. I’ve got a few tournaments left to put some more points on the board and I can just do what I can do and see what happens.”

Fleetwood, who birdied his final two holes on Thursday, fired seven more in a flawless 63 while Thomas, who will defend his US PGA Championship title at Bellerive Country Club next week, birdied five of his last eight holes in a 64.

“I was just signing my card there and realised I hadn’t had a five and you always remember those rounds,” Fleetwood, who also shot 63 in the final round of the US Open earlier this season to finish just a shot behind champion Brooks Koepka, told Sky Sports.

“I never hit it out of position and think I got away with one bad tee shot
where it bounced out of the trees but apart from that played lovely, putted
really nice and just picked them off.

“It’s a driver’s golf course so you have to drive it well. I came off yesterday and I couldn’t believe how good the scoring was. It just shows how high the standard of golf is at the moment.”

McIlroy, who won the title in 2014, told Sky Sports: “If I had shot one under today I think it would have felt the worst I could have shot with where I was putting some of my tee shots.

“I should have been giving myself looks for birdies on that back nine and I was having to hole five and six footers for par so it was nice to finish like that. I was getting frustrated out there but that finish makes up for it.”

Tiger Woods is five shots off the lead after a 68 featuring four birdies and two bogeys.

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