Poulter Pulls Clear

Sat 31 Oct 2009

Poulter Pulls Clear

Sentosa, October 31: England’s Ian Poulter maintained his impressive title charge at the Barclays Singapore Open after completing his second round in seven-under-par 64 for a five-shot lead on Saturday.

The Ryder Cup star returned to the Sentosa Golf Club’s Serapong course this morning and picked up from where he left off yesterday by adding five more birdies on his card.

He had shot two birdies in three holes on Friday evening when his second round was suspended due to darkness in the weather-hit US$5 million event, which is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.

Chan Yih-shih of Chinese Taipei, who qualified for the event on Monday, parred his 11 remaining holes to take a share of second place with Sweden’s Daniel Chopra, who had shot a 65 on Friday.

Irishman Graeme McDowell burst into the title frame with a stunning finish where he shot three birdies and an eagle over his last four holes for a 68 to lie a six shots back alongside South African Ernie Els, Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen and Kodai Ichihara of Japan.


American world number two Phil Mickelson bogeyed two of his closing three holes for an even par 71 and will have a mountain to climb to catch the runaway leader. Mickelson is 10 shots back with two rounds to play.

The third round is scheduled to start no earlier than 1pm today in the tournament which has been disrupted by weather over the past two days.

Poulter, playing in his first event after a six-week break, warned that there was some more good golf left in him this week."It feels good. I went out last night and started with a couple of birdies from within 12 inches which was a nice start and then went back out this morning and birdied the fourth and the sixth and then started to roll some putts in. I'm seeling the lines early which is good."

"I'm just going to keep hitting the shots that I'm hitting. It feels steady at the moment but hopefully there is better golf to come. It might sound silly with a five shot lead but I feel I have better golf to come, that it's not quite there, that I'm feeling my way into the week. If it gets better, then there should be some good scores to come."

Although he is still searching for his first Asian Tour win, the little-known Chan was confident of keeping up his title challenge. However he is hoping for his putter to strike a hot spell.

“Yesterday, I was good. I was three under through seven holes but this morning, I shot 11 straight pars. I kept two putting and didn’t have close looks for birdies until the last two holes but missed putts from about five feet on both times,” he said.

“I know I’m in a good position and I’m very happy. I don’t feel nervous now but I’m not sure how it’ll be when I tee it up in round three later today.”

After missing five straight cuts at the start of the year, Chan has shown some good form coming into the week, with a tied fifth at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters and a top-20 at the Iskandar Johor Open pushing him to 72nd place on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit.

While a good finish will all but secure his card for next year, Chan is dreaming of the impossible.

“I’ve played some good golf this week and I’ll try my best. I have a chance of winning this event,” he said.

“My woods are working really well. I hit 10 fairways in round two and that’s important. Everything feels good, I’m getting the right numbers with the yardages and pulling out the right clubs. Being bogey free for two rounds is also a nice thing.

“I just need more putts to fall. I took 32 putts in the second round which is too many putts. Hopefully I can finish strongly to confirm my place in the top-65 of the Asian Tour Order of Merit and get my full card for next year for the first time. But who knows, maybe I can win this week.”

The halfway cut was set at 143 with 70 players moving into the final two rounds. Amongst the big-name players who missed the cut were Major champion Geoff Ogilvy of Australia, Japan's Shigeki Maruyama and Korea's K.J. Choi, who all missed the mark by one shot.