Poulter continues chase for Ryder Cup Qualification
Ian Poulter climbed two places and into 12th place on the Ryder Cup Team Europe World Points List with 175.47 points, after the Englishman claimed a tied tenth place finish at the WGC – FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
The six-time Ryder Cup player, regarded as one of the greats of the modern Ryder Cup era, moved to within 40 points of Shane Lowry who occupies the final qualifying spot on the World Points List.
An opening round 64 saw Poulter finish day one in a tie for second, with projections at the time suggesting the Englishman would move within 10 points of Lowry as he chases a seventh Ryder Cup appearance and a sixth victory.
Rounds of 66-67-72 followed to see Poulter claim a second top ten in four weeks five strokes behind winner Abraham Ancer who defeated Masters Champion Hideki Matsuyama and America’s Sam Burns in a play-off.
Nicknamed the “Postman”, Poulter has certainly given European Captain Pádraig Harrington food for thought of late and, with a points return record standing at 68% across six appearances, it could be hard to ignore the five-time Ryder Cup winner.
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The highest placed European at the WGC – FedEx St. Jude Invitational was Paul Casey who finished in a tie for fifth after rounds of 68-66-65-67 and climbed one spot in the World Points List into fourth position with 318.28 points.
The four-time Team Europe player has been in impressively consistent form this year having won once at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and claimed nine further top ten finishes this season.
Should Casey make Harrington’s team at Whistling Straits in September, he will be looking to make it four wins in five appearances – with his only loss as part of Team Europe coming at the 2008 Ryder Cup.
Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy recaptured the final qualifying spot on the European Points List thanks to rounds of 72-66-66-66, with Matt Fitzpatrick now occupying a qualification spot via the World Points List having been a mainstay on the European Points List.
McIlroy has been an ever-present in the European team since his debut at the 2010 Ryder Cup and looks likely to make that six consecutive appearances as he currently sits in fourth on the European Points List with 4,810.17 points and second on the World Points List with 405.33 points – only bettered by Jon Rahm who has 668.94 points.
As it stands Rahm (10,122.82 points), Tommy Fleetwood (5,483.52 points), Tyrrell Hatton (5,242.76 points) and McIlroy (4,810 points) fill the automatic places on the European Points List.
Viktor Hovland (320.40 points), Casey (318.28 points), Fitzpatrick (281.66 points), Lee Westwood (245.89 points) and Shane Lowry (214.89 points) currently occupy the World Points List spots.
Pádraig Harrington will decide on his three Captain’s Picks after the conclusion of the BMW PGA Championship – the third Rolex Series event of the season – which takes place at Wentworth Golf Club from September 9-12.