Ian Poulter’s not getting any joy on the golf course lately, so yesterday’s unexpected news should cheer him up a lot.
The Englishman’s mad dash to Hong Kong from Orlando is well chronicled as all kinds of strings were pulled to ensure the Ryder Cup talisman racks up the mandatory 13 events on the European Tour necessary to keep his membership, and thus be eligible for the biennial showdown with the United States in Hazeltine next year.
Poulter was counting on playing the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai next week, but results from last-to-last week worked in such a manner that Poulter slipper out of the world top-50 and hence could not make it to the field in Shanghai.
And then on Thursday in the Turkish Airlines Open, he was working up a brilliant round – five-under par through 13 – when he made a triple bogey on the par-3 fifth against the run of play.
But luck finally smiled on Poulter when he found out late Thursday night that American Brandt Snedeker has withdrawn from the HSBC Champions, thus getting Poulter – who was the first alternate – in.
I will be playing the #hsbcchampions event next week in Shanghai now. I guess it was meant to be……
— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) October 29, 2015
Another Ryder Cup star who seemed delighted yesterday was Graeme McDowell, even though he still hasn’t gotten into the WGC-HSBC Champions.
McDowell shot a seven-under par 65, one of his best rounds of the season and is five behind the leader.
Now ranked 80th in the world after an eminently forgettable season, McDowell said he has changed his approach to golf and that seems to be paying dividend.
“I am not out there as I was for most of the year, feeling like I had a gun pointed to my head and it was me pointing the gun. I put myself under far too much pressure going into the summer because I hadn’t played well and I am not the kind of guy who reacts well to that,” he said after the round.
“I am the kind of guy who needs to be out there very relaxed and very open-minded and very big picture-orientated. I think I have got a little too focused on the bad stuff this year and got a little too frustrated playing golf like I needed it too badly, so I am feeling very relaxed on the golf course, enjoying what I am doing and really looking into next season.”
The Victor Dubuisson story hit the headlines across the globe for the first time when he won the inaugural Turkish Airlines Open here in 2013, beating Tiger Woods among others that year.
So, it looks like the Montgomerie Maxx Royal course is really a lucky charm for the enigmatic Frenchman when he finally emerged from the depths of a disappointing season yesterday with a sublime round of eight-under par 64 that put him into contention, just three shots behind the leader Jaco van Zyl at the halfway stage.
But as much as he loves the golf course, Dubuisson is convinced the turnaround in his form has been engineered by his new putter.
“It’s definitely one of my favourite courses,” said Dubuisson after the round.
“That I have won here, helps a little bit. But it’s all about how you hit the ball in the end. I changed my putter a few months ago. I was a little bit in trouble the first few weeks, but now I hole more putts from ten feet and that makes a difference.”
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