Poults eyes Hong Kong double
Ian Poulter this week is heading back with ambition to the Hong Kong Golf Club, scene of the lowest round of his career.
Ian Poulter will this week revisit the scene of the lowest competitive round of his career when he defends is title at the UBS Hong Kong Open at Fanling.
The colourful Englishman blazed to a spectacular 60 in the second round of this Euro-Asian co-sanctioned event last year at the New Course at the storied Hong Kong Golf Club on his way to a one-shot victory over fellow Englishman Simon Dyson and Italian teenager Matteo Manassero.
It was the tenth of his 11 European Tour victories, and he is now heading back to Hong Kong looking for a 12th title in the right fame of mind.
His confidence has been boosted sky high by the final-round heroics he and Justin Rose produced in Sunday’s sensational final-round foursomes at the Omega Mission Hills World Cup in China where their 9-under 63 rocket England into second place behind this year’s winners USA.
“Having a chance to shoot 59, it has to be one of the best rounds I’ve ever played,” Poulter recalled in Hong Kong on Tuesday.
“The other was in Italy when I went very low. They were certainly memorable rounds of golf.
“I putted very well. And when you do that and start seeing balls go in, it takes the pressure off the rest of your game. Being relaxed on the tee shots, relaxed in the middle of the fairway, it makes the rest of it pretty easy. It’s all about getting your irons going – that’s key to holing putts and taking the pressure off.
“I like the course. I like that it’s not very long and you have to think your way around it, playing positional stuff. The greens are small and pretty true, and if you get the putter going you can shoot some good scores. It’s just a nice blend. It’s old school.
“It’s a nice week. You play a lovely golf course and you go back in the evening to a great hotel and fantastic restaurants. Hong Kong just has a good vibe.”
World No 2 Rory McIlroy is also expected to features in the stellar field as the Northern Irishman seeks to maintain his excellent form at Fanling where he finished sixth last year and second in 2009.
The 22 year old will, however, will be under pressure for he needs to win this week to have any chance of overhauling Luke Donald at the top of The Race to Dubai in next week’s season-closing finale, the Dubai World Championship.
McIlroy currently trails Donald, who is playing in the non-scoring Nedbank Challenge at Sun City in South Africa this week, by €1,131,512 and would need to triumph in Hong Kong and in Dubai next week to have any chance of being crowned Europe’s Number One for 2011.
The pressure is also on a number of players who need a strong performance in Hong Kong to guarantee a place in the field for the Dubai World Championship , with only the top 60 in The Race to Dubai qualifying for the big money European Tour climax..
Some of these are three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington, who won the tournament in 2004, but who is currently 67th, former European Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie, who is in 102nd place and England’s David Howell, a former Ryder Cup player, who is 103rd.
Peter Lawrie (60th ) and Christian Nilsson – (59th) will also need to bring their A games to Fanling if they are to keep themselves safe inside the Dubai qualifying bubble.
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