Poulter reigns in Hong Kong

2010-11-21 17:11

Hong Kong - Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter capped a near-perfect week of clinical putting and masterly strokeplay with his 10th European Tour crown at the 2.5 million US dollar UBS Hong Kong Open on Sunday.

The 34-year-old Englishman survived Matteo Manassero's back nine charge to win by a single shot from the Italian and England's Simon Dyson, finishing the tournament on a 22 under par 258.

His score was the lowest four-day total in the history of the Hong Kong Open, helped by a phenomenal 10-under 60 for the second round.

"I think today I actually played better to shoot three-under than I did to shoot 10-under," he said. "I don't think I've hit as many good golf shots as today in a long time.

"I felt calm all day. I felt if I just kept going about my business making a few birdie putts then that would be enough to win."

The win moves Poulter back inside the top ten on the Official World Golf Rankings and increases his earnings in The Race to Dubai to 2.7 million dollars - the most he has ever won in a single European Tour season.

Graeme McDowell had started the day as Poulter's closest challenger but the Northern Irishman's challenge never really materialised as he finished with a two under 68 to take fifth place.

The US Open Champion was undone by two bogeys in his first three holes and though he recovered on the back nine with five birdies, it was too late to threaten playing partner Poulter.

McDowell now switches his focus to the Dubai World Championship next week where he hopes to be crowned Europe's Number One ahead of current Race to Dubai leader Martin Kaymer, having reduced the arrears to just under 300,000 dollars.

"I'm within touching distance now of next week," he said. "I've got to play well next week, simple as that. Martin, I can't control his ball - I can only control mine."

Poulter who started the day with a two-stroke advantage over the rest of the field had hardly put a foot wrong all week and when he found water at the third it was his first bogey of the tournament.

The World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play winner recovered with three birdies over his next four holes and an eagle three on the 13th set him on course for the title.

Simon Dyson, a former Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, carded an eagle three on the third before immediately adding a birdie on the next hole.

He made further gains on the sixth and seventh holes to move briefly alongside Poulter before slipping back with a bogey on the eighth.

He gained one more stroke on the back nine to finish level runner-up on 21-under with Manassero, whose brilliant unblemished round of 62 - including six birdies and an eagle - saw him shoot back up the leaderboard.

"Fantastic day actually for me," said 17-year-old Manassero, who became the youngest ever winner on The European Tour in Spain last month.

"I started the day quite far behind - Poulter was 19, I was 13.

"I made some great shots, so I'm very happy actually the way I played and the way I tried to catch the leaders."

Rory McIlroy had narrowly missed out on victory in Hong Kong Golf Club in the last two years and though he started well this time he was never really in the hunt as the final round progressed.

The 21-year-old bogeyed the first and though he recovered with four birdies over his next 12 holes, another dropped shot on the par four 14th left him with too much to do and he finished three under, four shots behind Poulter in sixth.