x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Refreshed Poulter reaps reward of careful planning

Ian Poulter marks a return to action after a six-week layoff with victory in the Singapore Open.

Ian Poulter stormed five shots clear at the demanding Serapong Course by the halfway stage.
Ian Poulter stormed five shots clear at the demanding Serapong Course by the halfway stage.

Ian Poulter returned to action refreshed after a six-week layoff with victory in the Singapore Open today and regarded a first European Tour win in three years as proof his careful planning was paying dividends. Never short of confidence in his own ability, the 33-year-old Briton was looking forward to picking up Ryder Cup and Race to Dubai ranking points in a seven-event swing to end the year, starting in Singapore.

"I set myself a goal before coming out on this seven-week stretch to get close to the world's top 10," the number 21-ranked Poulter told reporters after holding on for a one-shot victory in the $5 million (Dh18.4m) co-sanctioned tournament. "With a field like this, guys like Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els playing it gave the event more world ranking points. So now I am close to my aim and still have a few more events to go."

Poulter will not rest on his laurels, however, and heads to the HSBC Champions in Shanghai next week fully expecting to pick up more ranking points and cash. "Also the Race to Dubai is coming up in November and I have three more counting events for that to play as well as Ryder Cup points," he added. "I want to put as much money on the board in the amount of events I have left to play. "I limit my schedule to make sure I can play and stay fresh so it was key to come out early into this run of tournaments and put some money on the board."

Poulter stormed five shots clear at the demanding Serapong Course by the halfway stage but let his lead slip after two dreadful six-hole spells in the final two rounds before a birdie on the par-four 13th set him back on track for victory. "It really pumped me up," Poulter added. "I was getting angry. I had played so well in spells around here this week but it was so annoying to let easy holes slips and all of a sudden lose the lead.

"I felt as if I had to do something and I did ? rolled a putt in from 30 feet and it kind of gave me a nice boost." *Reuters