Poulter hits new heights

Ian Poulter has soared to a career-high 15th in the world rankings as a result of his victory at the Barclays Singapore Open.

Ian Poulter reaped the rewards for Sunday’s hard-fought one-stroke victory at the Barclays Singapore Open when he ended a two-year winless streak, not the least of his spoils being a leap to a career-high 15th in the world.
After a six-week break following the end of the FedEx Cup play-off series, the English Ryder Cup contender even surprised himself at how well he played at Sentosa Golf Club where he edged out China’s former Asian number one Liang Wen-chong and returned to the winners’ circle for the first time since the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament in Japan in 2007.
Poulter’s eighth European Tour victory, his first since Madrid in 2006, also kick-started his bid to qualify for a third Ryder Cup after moving up to fourth in the standings, albeit at this early stage, in the race to make Colin Montgomerie’s team for Celtic Manor next year.
And with Ross Fisher winning the Volvo World Match Play Championship in Spain after beating American Ryder Cup player Anthony Kim 4&3 to reach a career-best 17th in the world, captain Montgomerie has nine candidates for Celtic Manor inside the world’s top 20.
Poulter, meanwhile, has also moved up to 10th on the Race to Dubai with just as potentially lucrative weeks at the new World Golf Championships event in Shanghai and the Hong Kong Open remaining ahead of the season-ending Dubai World Championship later this month.
“It’s not just the win, it’s the right time of the year to win in the sense that the Ryder Cup points have started,” the 2004 Ryder Cup winner said.
“I have the next six weeks to play, five of which count for world rankings and Ryder Cup points. I wanted to put as much money on the board as I possibly could.
“It is an exciting few weeks leading to Dubai so I am looking forward to getting to Shanghai and staying fresh and working on a few shots that were getting away from me this week.
“I feel like I have better things to come in the next few weeks for sure. I have had six weeks off, I have definitely removed a few cobwebs.
“When I am hitting the ball well, I am hitting it as good as I have ever hit it – there are certain shots that I hit this week that I was very very happy with.”
The 33-year-old certainly did not have it all his own way over a weather-effected week in Singapore as Poulter’s aggressive approach to his third round saw a five-stroke halfway lead disappear.
He also survived a wobble down the stretch which saw him lose the lead with six holes remaining before calmly completing the wire-to-wire victory with a second consecutive one-over-par 72 after appearing to take control of the tournament with a brilliant bogey-free second round 64.
“You have to have a break at points in the year. I had a good year but you have to have a rest at some point and I picked the right time to do it,” he added.
“I didn’t hit a golf ball for the first three weeks and then started in the last three weeks. I was hitting it nice but had only played two rounds of golf in the six weeks off.
“I didn’t really know how I was going to play but I knew that I was hitting it good so it very pleasing to come straight out and win.
“It was a dramatic two days. The stop start nature of the event was tiring. Leading after such a flying start – five shots in front through 36 holes kind of surprised me a little bit.
“I had done a lot of work in the six weeks that I had off but I was looking to ease into the week not come out all guns blazing.
“It was a surprise and then the last two days I am not sure if I was just distracted, or not concentrating or tired or rusty, I just found myself dropping silly shots and making the tournament a lot more interesting.
“I would like to have had a little different. I am frustrated at the bad shots that I hit even though I have still won this tournament. I should have done a lot more in rounds three and four to make it a lot more comfortable at the end.”