Poulter surges into contention
In the words of the man himself – there’s life in the old dog yet.
Ian Poulter put himself on course to continue his Ryder Cup love affair after a superb play-off victory at the Houston Open which saw him clinch the final spot at the Masters Tournament and rocket up to ninth position in the European Ryder Cup World Points List.
Poulter had agonisingly missed out on a place at Augusta National last week at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play - initially believing that he had done enough after exiting at the quarter final stage - but the Englishman is renowned for delivering when it matters most, and he certainly did that in Houston.
After an opening round 73 his chances of qualifying for the year’s first Major Championship looked bleak, but three days later his familiar chest-pounding celebration was in full flow as sank a long birdie putt to force a play-off against American Beau Hossler, going on to seal his first strokeplay title on the PGA Tour at the first extra hole.
The 42 year old’s first win since the 2012 WGC-HSBC Champions rekindled memories of his exploits as part of the Miracle of Medinah – Europe’s phenomenal comeback victory at the 2012 Ryder Cup - and in his current form, a sixth Ryder Cup appearance could very well be on the cards.
There has been no change in the automatic qualification places for Captain Thomas Bjørn’s team this week, with Poulter’s victory moving him to within two spots of the projected team, just behind Alex Noren in World Points List.