Poulter Tour card under threat as he struggles in Texas
|Valero Texas Open first round leaderboard|
|-6 B Grace (SA); -5 W MacKenzie, J Huh, S Cink (all US), S Alker (Aus); -4 S Marino, S Stefani, L List, B Koepka, B Estes, T Hoge, J Randolph, R Shelton, K Duke, B Gay, B Molder (all US), G McDowell (NI), S-Y Noh (Kor)|
|Selected others: -1 G Owen (Eng); E M Laird (Sco); +3 I Poulter, A Johnston (both Eng); +4 L Donald (Eng)|
England’s Ian Poulter is struggling to secure his PGA Tour card for the rest of the season after a poor first round at the Valero Texas Open.
Poulter, 41, carded a three-over 75 to leave him tied for 128th place and in danger of missing the cut.
Playing his final tournament on a medical exemption after foot surgery last year, he needs to win at least £23,905 – equivalent to a top-30 finish – to retain his place on the tour.
Branden Grace leads on six under.
The 28-year-old South African hit seven birdies and one bogey in a round of 66, one shot ahead of Americans Will MacKenzie, John Huh, Stewart Cink and Australia’s Steven Alker.
Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell is part of a 13-way tie for sixth on four under in San Antonio.
England’s Luke Donald was in contention on level par at the turn but hit two bogeys and one double bogey on the back nine to fall one shot behind Poulter on four over.
Poulter, beginning his round on the 10th hole, started with back-to-back bogeys, also hitting one at the 14th to reach the turn at three over.
He made a further bogey on the fourth before recording his only birdie of the round on the eighth to ensure an even-par 36 on the closing nine.
Should he fail to retain his tour card, the 2008 Open runner-up would need invitations to compete on the PGA Tour.