Ian Poulter fired a first round 67 in The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale and he drew heavily on his performance over the Southport links in 2008.

The last time The Open Championship was held at Royal Birkdale, in 2008, Ian Poulter produced a superb back nine to post a clubhouse total that only a charging Padraig Harrington could beat.

This time out, a similar wind direction to that final day nine years ago helped Poulter to plot his way around the course and post an excellent first round of 67.

“What was helpful was the wind today was like it was on Sunday last time it was played in 2008,” he said after his round today. “I sat down to review the weather last night with the yardage book in hand, I kind of planned or plotted away around this golf course. So I almost played a round of golf last night in my head and I had a lower score in my head last night than I did today, but don’t we all?”

Having missed The Open last year with injury and dropping outside the world’s top-50, Poulter is thrilled to be back in the sport’s premier individual event this time round.

“Commentating last year on Thursday and Friday was no fun,” he said. “It’s a huge boost to be able to play this week. Dropping out of the top 50 is not helpful. Not playing majors and WGC’s is something obviously that I haven’t been used to over a long period of time. So that’s been difficult.”

And getting into this Major was not straightforward for Poulter. He had to go through final qualifying at his home club Woburn where he managed to secure the last of three places in The Open Championship that were up for grabs.

“It was a special day. I think to try and qualify for this championship is a big deal. For it to be in your home club with huge support was amazing,” he said.

And there was plenty of support from the huge galleries for Poulter out on the Birkdale links today.

“Absolutely incredible crowds today,” Poulter said. “The Open Championship is extremely special from a fan perspective and from a player to be clapped on to every single green, it means a lot.”

Poulter tees off at 1.04 tomorrow and is fully aware that he could be facing some testing weather conditions.

“Tomorrow looks like it’s going to be brutal,” he said. “So it feels very good to be able to post a red number today.”