Poulter wins in Singapore
Poulter lifts the Singapore Open trophy (AFP)
Singapore - Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter won his first European Tour event in three years on Sunday when he rode his luck to clinch the Barclays Singapore Open by a shot from China's Liang Wenchong.
The Englishman, colour-coordinated in pink shoes, trousers and shirt, played a gruelling 30 holes in the weather-affected tournament, co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours, and it was a topsy-turvy ride.
He had seen a five-stroke halfway lead wiped out in just six holes of his third round on Saturday after paying the price for an aggressive approach before a thunderstorm halted play.
But he returned on Sunday morning to complete the round and carded five birdies against two bogeys to remain on course for victory, one head of Ryder Cup teammate Graeme McDowell.
Poulter stretched that lead to two shots by the sixth hole but four bogeys in the next six saw him one behind the Irishman.
The pressure, though, got to McDowell, and three consecutive bogeys allowed Poulter to regain the lead and he hung on, claiming his first European win since the Madrid Masters in 2006 with a 10-under-par 274.
"I missed some shots but that made it interesting," said Poulter, whose victory will push him up towards the world's top 10.
"It was too close for comfort but I am happy to get there."
He said the run of bogeys that almost blew his chance was frustrating but he used them to his advantage.
"I was getting angry," he said. "I played so well in spurts and let easy holes slip. I felt I had to do something and I did."
Poulter now heads to Shanghai for the WGC-HSBC Champions and is confident of carrying over his form against Tiger Woods and a world-class field.
"I'm really looking forward to Shanghai. I haven't been in the winners' circle for a few years and it's really nice to get back."
Liang proved to be his closest challenger with the former Asian number one finishing with a 70 for his best showing in Singapore since he was fourth in 2006.
Liang was happy with his week, despite missing out on the title.
"There are no regrets. Golf is like that. I have to accept how I played," said China's top player, who moved up to second on the Asian Order of Merit behind Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee.
"Overall I am satisfied with how I played all week. It was good that I maintained my form the entire week. I will try to maintain my form for the rest of the year."
McDowell finally ended with a 74 to be three off the pace in fifth, alongside Denmark's Anders Hansen and South Africa's Charl Schwartzel.
Australia's Scott Hend was third, two behind Poulter, along with resurgent compatriot Adam Scott.
Scott only just made the cut but raced up the leaderboard with a third round 65 as he recovered some form after a miserable year of missed cuts.
The former world number three, who won the tournament in 2005 and 2006, carried his new-found touch into the final round with a 68 for his best result since the Sony Open in January.
World number two Phil Mickelson tied for 14th after an inconsistent week marred by too many bogeys. He now heads to Shanghai to renew his rivalry with arch-rival Woods.
Three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington will also be in China after a disappointing weekend in Singapore, where he finished tied 38th to end any realistic hope he had of finishing the year as Europe's number one.
274 - Ian Poulter (ENG) 66-64-72-72
275 - Liang Wenchong (CHN) 69-68-68-70
276 - Scott Hend (AUS) 72-66-69-69, Adam Scott (AUS) 72-71-65-68
277 - Anders Hansen (DEN) 68-71-68-70, Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 72-68-68-69, Graeme McDowell (IRL) 71-65-67-74
278 - Niclas Fasth (SWE) 69-67-71-71
279 - Kenichi Kuboya (JPN) 70-70-67-72, Marcus Both (AUS) 72-71-67-69, Andrew Dodt (AUS) 69-68-70-72, Thomas Levet (FRA) 68-68-73-70
280 - Phil Mickelson (USA) 69-71-69-71, Thongchai Jaidee (THA) 73-67-71-69, Sam Hutsby (ENG) 69-70-69-72, Justin Rose (ENG) 72-70-70-68, Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND) 71-67-73-69, Juvic Pangunsan (PHI) 74-69-69-68, Ernie Els (RSA) 67-69-72-72
281 - Marc Warren (SCO) 73-69-67-72, Soren Hansen (DEN) 71-71-68-70
282 - Tano Goya (ARG) 74-68-72-70, Lin Wen-Tang (TPE) 69-70-68-70, Ross McGowan (ENG) 69-69-70-74, Chapchai Nirat (THA) 73-67-72-70, Peter Lawrie (IRL) 71-66-71-74
284 - Padraig Harrington (IRL) 74-69-72-69
285 - Jyoti Randhawa (IND) 69-72-72-72
286 - Miguel Angel Jimenez (ESP) 74-67-69-76
287 - Soren Hansen (DEN) 71-71-68-77, Danny Lee (NZL) 71-72-72-72
290 - Darren Clarke (ENG) 73-69-73-75