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Poulter stays on course in PGA despite strong winds

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Iain Carter | 06:53 UK time, Saturday, 11 August 2012

At Kiawah Island

Ian Poulter's relatively uneventful season threatens to spring to life this weekend as the Englishman seeks the high US PGA Championship finish he needs to grab an automatic Ryder Cup place.

Currently two places outside the list of those certain to be on duty for Europe at Medinah next month, the 36-year-old Englishman's quest is firmly on course at the halfway stage of the final major of the year.

But after Poulter produced a typically tenacious display in the heavy coastal winds that swept the Ocean Course on the second day at Kiawah Island, he will be more concerned simply with landing his first major than retaining his Ryder Cup place.

He covered the treacherous inward half in 35 strokes and is just one shot behind the leading trio of Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh and Carl Pettersson.

Ian Poulter

England's Ian Poulter leads the British challenge at one behind the leading US PGA trio of Vijay Singh, Tiger Woods and Carl Pettersson. Photo: Getty

Apart from a third-placed finish at Bay Hill in the spring, the majors have provided the stages for Poulter's best golf in an otherwise unremarkable year.

He was seventh at the Masters and finished tied ninth at the Open last month.

The American-based Briton will relish a late start heading into the weekend here and also the prospect of contesting a major title with Woods who looks so much more composed on the billiard table-smooth Kiawah greens.

Despite missing for par from six feet at the last, the 14-time major champion otherwise putted brilliantly to put himself firmly in contention.

But if he is to end his four-year major drought, Woods will need to tighten his play from tee to green over the weekend because he cannot rely on holing out so reliably in the closing 36 holes.

Woods scrambled superbly to keep his challenge intact and his task now is to banish any ghosts that might remain after failing to capitalise on potentially winning positions at Olympic Club and Lytham where the last two majors were staged.

Rory McIlroy's frailty in a testing wind was again exposed in a disappointing second-round 75. He often lacks control because he cannot use his high ball flight to best effect.

This can be a big asset in calm conditions, but when heavy cross winds such as those that swept the South Carolina coastline come into play, the 23-year-old from Northern Ireland often struggles.

McIlroy loses his greatest strength, which lies in his long game, and this in turn exposes his fallibility around the greens. As well as only hitting half the fairways, he managed to successfully get up and down just four out of eight times in his second round.

Even so, he remains firmly in the mix in what promises to be a thoroughly absorbing sporting sideshow away from the climax of the Olympic Games.

For several big names, though, this was a miserable final round of major championship golf for the year.

Simon Dyson, Matteo Manassero, Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar, Nick Watney and Jeff Overton were among those who failed to break 80 in the second round.

For Fowler it is an alarming loss of form. The young American has not registered a top-30 finish since the end of May.

US Ryder Cup skipper Davis Love will be looking for Fowler, who was so impressive in his debut at Celtic Manor two years ago, to bounce back in time for the announcement of his four wildcards on 4 September.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    A good Summary so far Ian, Rory will struggle if the wind continues to blow. He seems to be a one trick pony which was not how he was built up, if the course plays long and soft and the wind is benign he scores if the course requires a different kind of shot to his high ball flight he is found wanting. IMO thats why at the majors he is probably best suited to Augusta as it favours a draw and although can be affected by the wind its only on a few holes.
    Will Tiger be able to string four good rounds together is the question as that has been why he has struggled this year flashes of his best but just struggling to sustain it for 4 rounds.
    All to play for and look for GMac to produce today.

  • Comment number 2.

    Poulter's was one of the best rounds of his life and outstanding in the field and the conditions. If he feels he has a sniff of victory, watch him grab it and hang on like a terrier! It will take some very good golf to beat him - and I agree with daveyboyfletcher; GMac might be the one to provide it...

    Could be a fascinating weekend.

  • Comment number 3.

    It would be good to see Poulter win and live up to his own Hype, he and gmac are simalar players gritty grinders who on their day hole anything they look at. Both proven big stage players who will figure strongly in the upcoming Ryder cup.

  • Comment number 4.

    With the wind forecast to be much the same today and tomorrow, it will be interesting to see which way the scoring goes, the likes of Luke Donald, Dustin Johnso, Jason Dufner and Louis Oosthuzien who made it through on or close to the cut line will be hoping they can get in with a 70 or 69 and by the end of play tonight be a lot closer to the leaders, Els was seven off the lead in The Open at this stage and Webb Simpson was 6 off the lead in US Open

  • Comment number 5.

    Although Iain generally does good blogs the obsession with the British players is over the top. Hardly a mention of Vijay Singh who is leading the major at the age of 49. A terrific player and athlete over the years who is always under the radar in this Tiger Woods / English players who never win a major age. Anyway, Lee Westwood has totally lost the plot and will never win a major now. Lucky Luke Donald has just made the cut despite playing terribly. Full marks to overweight Carl Petterson though, for a splendid couple of days.

  • Comment number 6.

    @5, Vijay Singh isn't mentioned because he doesn't have the glamour or natural talent of a young prodigy like Mcilroy. He'll fall away over the weekend.

    Lee Westwood is another Monty at the majors, never quite having the extra 1% needed to win. When his long game isn't working there's nothing he can do because he has no short game.

    Mcilroy's always been a one-trick pony, he's world-class on easy courses and weather conditions, medicore when the conditions are more awkward. Shoots three rounds in the 60's at St Andrews but on the one day of bad weather shoots 80. That sums him up.

    This is Tigers major to win, although i'd like to see Poulter challenge him. The latter said when he peaks it'll just be "me and tiger." I've been looking forward to this duel since then.

  • Comment number 7.

    One trick pony. Seriously? I'm not going to come on here and say he is the best wind player out there, far from it but he shot 75. The scoring average for the day was much higher. The likes of GMac shot worse and he is considered a much better player in those conditions.

    Whilst McIlroy's game is less suited to windy conditions to suggest he only plays well when courses are soft is tosh. Just because his US Open victory was soft shouldn't define him. Firestone last week wasn't soft, he played well. Of his victories only really in the US Open did he get those conditions.

    Also, I am amazed people saying he can only really win round Augusta. The suggestion being of course that Augusta isn't a particularly difficult course. Get real folks. He isn't Tiger Woods but who else is? Where are Donald, Westwood, Kaymer, Johnson, Simpson, Watson this week? Not sure exactly what you want from the lad

  • Comment number 8.

    I think we are in for a fascinating weekend. Whilst being a huge Tiger fan and hope that he gets number 15, if he was not to win then Ian Poulter winning would be brilliant. Disappointed that there was no mention of Jamie Donaldsons efforts. The conditions and course realistically means that even Luke who is 10 shots behind is still in with a chance. Much kudos must go to Michael Hoey disqualifying himself after he realised he had not recreated his lie after identifying his ball. Shows the true spirit of the game and how honest golfers are with the game.

  • Comment number 9.

    I agree with the criticism of Rory Mcilroy in windy conditions, but I feel he will only improve in these conditions, he is still very young, only 23. I don't claim he is the 2nd coming of Tiger but he is an extremely gifted natural golf player who will
    contend in majors for many years to come. His 75 yesterday wasn't terrible, the average score was about 78 yesterday, Petterson, Woods and Poulter scrambled incredibly yesterday while Vijay's round was a freak of nature,Matt Kuchar missed his first cut in 24 events with an 80 and the world no.1 made the cut on the number. McIlroy was quite good yesterday I thought. The wind seems much more benign today with winds of 10mph being reported compared to 30mph yesterday, I see Rory hitting another round in the 60's today and leaving himself in the final groups come sunday afternoon. Poulter will love the challenge of the weekend, Tiger is gonna be there, GMAC will relish a weekend charge and Petterson is putting superbly. But Vijay might be my pick, great end of year player, twice PGA champion, and might just have got a shedload of inspiration from the Big Easy winning last week.

  • Comment number 10.

    blimey guys...i know i have some extreme views of westwood but even i'm surprised at how much flak rory's getting

    he's poised at -2 and in the 3rd last group going into a major saturday...if he can shoot 69ish today, he'll be right in the mix tomorrow

    i think the kid's a class act...but what do i know?!

  • Comment number 11.

    Course is only breezy today. Although I would like someone else to win eg Poulter I too think it is TW's to lose. Today is "moving" day so lets see.
    RMc surely must be able to play a different shot than the high draw ? Maybe once his coach is with him full time we'll see an improvement in the areas where he has percieved weaknesses.

    Come on Noren, 150-1, up there after 1 round then an 80 ?? win me some money !!

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    Just to prove that I know nothing Rory playing well. The thing I dont get is he has played really well on links but is also prone to a shocker like at St Andrews where he got blew off the course and the same at Sandwich. Yet I understand in his younger days he played Portrush regularly and was and still is I believe the course record holder there. So he can play on links but maybe its only on calm days, he unlike Tiger and some other players just does not seem to be able to adapt and has no plan B. People still say he needs a stronger Caddie but I dont really think that will make much difference to his game. After all he hits the shots as he sees them not JP.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    A lot of commentator's are asking why people shout those stupid thing's after a golfer Tee's off, this is something that Tiger wood's started ( not him Specifically but the games company I.E playstation ETC.I have played a couple of the games with my kids and you get background noise with commentator's giving their remarks on your shot and the crowd cheer's and clapping you also get the shout " get in the hole" ETC so they have either heard it on a game or hoping it will be added to A GAME.

  • Comment number 16.

    @15, the 'get in the hole' brigade need shooting. They were at it during the British Open when Tiger teed off, so its going to be five times worse when the audience is American and follow Tiger like Sheep.

    Tiger may have increased golfs fanbase by 100%, but some of these new fans ruin the atmosphere at golf tournaments wirth their mindless shouting. That is something for football games, not golf.

  • Comment number 17.

    Possibly need a big slice of Uncle Dons humble pie as Rory proves me wrong, funny thing is though I picked him in the prediction league as I just had a gut feeling he was due a better performance. Looks like Poulter is on fire and a good finish will cement his place in the Ryder cup team.

  • Comment number 18.

    Astonishing round Poulter is putting! together here. First player in history to shoot 62 at a major? Must have a chance as Curtis has shot -4 for the back nine.

    2IK. Not a lot if your comments on Westwood are generally anything to go by.

  • Comment number 19.

    hey rants...who the **** asked you?

    seems to me i was right again on the worksop boy...he's exactly where he belongs on the final day of a major...at home!!!

  • Comment number 20.

    Looks as though Poulters bogey has blown his outside chance of a 62. Mcilroys to lose now but as we have heard so often tournaments don't start until the back 9. Bad break for Petterson but superb effort to get back into it.

    2IK. Who asked me?.... well you did (although not directly of course )....Or are you not aware of the meaning of the ? at the end of your post.

    Ps. Point taken about Westwood not a good months golf for the Notts lad but as always you will be conspicuous by your absence on these blogs when he plays well.

    Pps. Why the aggressive foul mouth response?

  • Comment number 21.

    2 iron Lee will come good again he is struggling with his swing and come one even with your outspoken views on him you have to admit on song he has the best long game and iron play out there.
    I have already made a fool of myself with my Rory comments and am hopefully going to be proved wrong soon with his second major victory on the way unless he has an Augusta moment.
    He is a likeable lad and obviously talented and I will be happy to see him start fullfilling his potential and living up to the hype.

  • Comment number 22.

    Monty's got to be the the worst commentator, his "dentures" are implanted in Rory's "skids"!!??

  • Comment number 23.

    I don't understand Colin's obvious dislike, Is it because he (un) officially won more Euro money lists!!!??

  • Comment number 24.

    Looks like Rory has got it done humble pie for brekkie for me then.
    I hope this kickstarts a new phase in his career where not only contends but wins more majors.
    I reckon Don must have gave him a good talking to and gave him a new blueprint to success. Looks like a log jam for second.

  • Comment number 25.

    rants [#20]...i apologise...but please spare me the sarcasm re the question mark...it was a rhetorical question...maybe, just maybe, i know a thing or two about this glorious game...and you might even acknowledge i picked rory before he'd even started his 3rd round! [AND tipped 'the big easy' a couple of weeks before lytham]

    as for "as always you will be conspicuous by your absence on these blogs when he plays well"...what are you talking about?...i've always said i will be the first to acknowledge it if he proves me wrong

    davey [#21]...if you read back over previous posts of mine you'll see i've said countless times that, tee-to-green, westwood is as good as it gets BUT tee-to-green is not where tournaments are won...i know you guys think i have extreme anti-westwood views but, honestly, did you see his short game in round 2?...it's woeful...i'd like to say it's no better than county standard but sometimes i wonder if it's even that good

  • Comment number 26.

    What is it with English golfers and majors?

    As soon as they see their name on the leaderboard with a chance to win they cr*p their pants. Westwood has been choking in majors all his career...as too has Donald...but I thought Poulter would never choke...the way that man plays in the Rydercup is just amazing...he has no nerves...but as soon as its a major...he crumbles. I suppose there is another Monty type reference in there somewhere.

    Well done Rory...7 majors won by Irish players in 5 years...amazing!
    A true world number 1! Long may it last.

  • Comment number 27.

    Why is this aritcle about Ian Poulter? Didn't he finish 9 shots behind Rory?

  • Comment number 28.

    2ik I guess lees problem is with his short game the old adage drive for show putt for dough. He did work with mark roe for a while and showed some improvement which got him to world number one maybe he needs to pick up the phone and get back with roe to try and sort things out.
    Rory bit the bullet after some of his pretty poor putting was costing him and got Stockton involved and also has got his coach with him full time so he is putting the right things in place.
    I am still not sure that lee moving stateside will be a great move results will prove it.

  • Comment number 29.

    james [#26 & 27]...watch out, mate...chelsea boy will destroy you for using the 'choke' word!

    in fairness to carter, his article was written mid-tournament, hence the reference to poulter

  • Comment number 30.

    Jm the article was put on on Saturday mate

  • Comment number 31.

    davey [#28]...couldn't agree more...i was amazed to hear westo was moving stateside...i guess desperate people do desperate things!...i think, deep down, he's a hometown boy and i would have advised him to stay put and just focus on tightening his short game

  • Comment number 32.

    MattEfc - Stop mentioning my name in your non golf, non funny, non eventful, joke of a blog posts! If you havent got anyhthing constructive to talk about then why bother talking at all?? You are infatuated with Tiger and are obsessed with people being clones of other people! I bet you have names scribbled over your walls at home with arrows pointing to who you think they may be (Bilo is Jamesmatthew, sumo is Cyril) Get a grip mate or just quit! Its probably best for you in the long run because you seem to be losing the golfing plot?

  • Comment number 33.

    Well done to Rory Mcilroy, true gent, and i suppose one major every season isnt a bad thing at all! I thought Poulter was going for a world record 18 consecutive birdies when he holed in at 5 to make it 5 in the first 5 holes, he couldnt miss!

  • Comment number 34.

    Fair play to all last night... at one point Rose and Poults were putting in a charge but they were still relying on Rory to falter which he absolutely did not. Whilst I'm no fan of Rory he silenced any of his critics and put a great real of doubts to bed in one fell swoop.
    I'll even have to agree with 2ik and say now Westwood is looking like a RC liability... he has even left Pete Cowen as of today. Seems the US Open knocked the stuffing out of him. The jury is out on his move stateside... 2ik 'would' like to think it's desperate measures. You could also say he's giving it once last 'push' and trying something completely different, which is admirable.

  • Comment number 35.

    I'm not sure when Westwood's 'move' is pencilled in for but the change of coach would suggest it is imminent and perhaps plans to work with someone based in the US (although I have no clue admittedly where Cowen is based).
    LW is also playing in the US for 3 of the 4 weekends prior to Medinah so he's not shying away from refinding some form. Hope Kaymer is doing likewise.
    Poulter now in automatically at the expense of Sergio... unless he drops away in the next few months you'd have to think Harrington has as good a chance as anyone for a captain's pick.

  • Comment number 36.

    2IK. Ok lets look at the conversation.

    You question whether you know anything about golf to which I reply probably not a lot if your comments regarding Westwood are generally anything to go by.

    You reply with a foul mouth response (apology accepted) stating maybe, just maybe you know a thing or two about this glorious game whilst at the same time suggesting Westy is worse than a county golfer.

    Therefore I can only repeat my early assertion to your question that maybe, just maybe, you don't.

    As to your conclusion as to why Lee is moving stateside. If you fail to see any possible benefit of such a move perhaps a less biased view may at least open your eyes to an alternative opinion, if cfcboy23 has failed in his attempt to provide you with a more reasoned view.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/golf/article-2160773/Lee-Westwood-moving-America.html

    The jury will be out until his return to England (should that ever arise) at the end of his career, or until/unless he captures a major in which case it would clearly have been the right thing to have done as that is his ultimate objective in moving.

  • Comment number 37.

    I have noticed a certain Tiger lover is keeping his gob shut for once! How peaceful! Sick of hearing his useless moaning and non golf related chat! If you look at the last blog he was actually taking to himself for about 4 hours with no reply, nuttter if you ask me.

    Where is the guy who usually does the prediction thing? I would like to get involved now that i am settling myself into blogging life.

  • Comment number 38.

    chelsea [@34]...like you, i'm now worried about kaymer's form going into medinah...poults' automatic spot is a Godsend...harrington would get my vote over sergio...the last pick will give ollie a major headache...personally, i'd take tommy bjorn

    re westwood, i admire his determination and his resolve and i wasn't knocking him for moving to florida...i just said i was surprised that he was leaving these shores...i wish him well [but i still don't rate him as truly 'world class' and i won't until he becomes a more rounded golfer and proves himself at the very highest level]

    rants...@36...you're playing with words now...i never said westwood was worse than a county golfer...even i'm not THAT crass...i said his short game was no better than a county player's

  • Comment number 39.

    2 iron kaymer has had a poor year and apart from the big win at the end of last year did nothing last year. That's the trouble with the qualifying being over two years, a form player misses out as someone with no form stays in due to previous results.

  • Comment number 40.

    2iron... you're running out of friends at this rate with your radical views! I think the link from golfrants made a great comparison to Vijay who was winning big well into his 40s. Hopefully LW can replicate some of that success and as a 'well into my 40s', it will give us all hope!
    In the interest of poking back a little, I agree with #38 that golfrants did play with your words but equally you called Westwood a journeyman last week... all (extreme, in your words) opinion as you rightly say but as a former world number 1 you will struggle to justify that tag and I appreciate you will never rate him as 'world class' but the rankings beg to differ. That's why you got some pelters.
    Oh and last week you had Kaymer and Garcia as a solid RC Friday pairing... seems you (incredibly) wrote LW off way before MK, in that case!

  • Comment number 41.

    davey...that's exactly why i think the cap'n should have 12 picks!

  • Comment number 42.

    12 picks is extreme but the us I think are on 4 this time. You never know kaymer may do a sandy and ask not to play but I doubt it.

  • Comment number 43.

    chelsea...re kaymer...it's a fair cop...i honestly hadn't realised he is so far off his game

    can i substitute harrington & bjorn?

    still my friend?

  • Comment number 44.

    davey...you're worrying me now [#42]...that's the 3rd time i've been labelled 'extreme' today

    i'm sure you get my point...if i can give you a football analogy, it's a bit like asking the england football manager to go into a world cup being allowed to pick only 2 of his starting 11...i think my view is only 'extreme' because it's a break from tradition

  • Comment number 45.

    Who is going to make the team instead of Kaymer guys? In all honestly i think it would be a good thing for Kaymer and for Garcia if they where picked it will be the confidence they need to get back on top!!

  • Comment number 46.

    @38 2IK - RE your 2nd paragraph. "I admire his determination and resolve"...."I wish him well"!! Are you feeling well?

    Now you are either taking the pi$$, have been popping the happy pills or have had a large pint of Commsense Ale downed with Considered Judgement pork scratchings!

    In any event I would agree wholeheartedly. Question marks will forever hang over him similar to Monty should he fail to win that elusive major. A big step to uproot his family but he should be applauded for chasing his dreams and not derided for his attempts in doing so. For us Lee fans, and perhaps even those less enamoured of the chap, it will be interesting to see how his career progresses over the next few years as a result.

    As to the RC debate form is temporary, class is permanent. It wasn't too long ago that any number of 'experts' on here were writing off a certain Rory at the tender age of 23!!!

  • Comment number 47.

    rants...@46...yep...paranoia has set in and i've been to see a psychiatrist, having been labelled 'extreme' by all and sundry...as you suggest, have been prescribed a liberal dose of 'happy pills'

    remains to be seen if westwood will come good...but at least he can practice his chipping in the florida sun rather than the nottinghamshire murk

  • Comment number 48.

    2ik regards if it makes you feel better I was not branding you extreme just the notion of 12 picks. Monty wanted four picks last time and ended up with 3,Olly was happy with two but the criteria for qualification changed so as not to give the European tour players more standing over the more global players.
    The only thing with allowing too many picks is as Monty found with 3 who do you leave out becomes more of an issue than who you pick.
    The qualification period could maybe be cut shorter so as to favour more form players, but even then form is fickle win one week miss the cut next.
    Look at robbie rock he was flying early season now struggling, but something clicks hole afew putts and your back. Mm Rory that rings a bell.

  • Comment number 49.

    Careful 2ik you will be labelled county ist next the Nottingham mafia will be after you.

  • Comment number 50.

    thanks davey @48...note your comments...seems strange, though, that davis gets 4 picks and ollie only gets 2...makes his life a whole lot easier, though!

    re @49...before i incur the wrath of nottinghamshire folk...one of my sons is at nottingham uni...i'm contributing heartily to the city's rental income and i have no beef with the city, the county, or its people...see...told you i was getting paranoid!

  • Comment number 51.

    2ik it was ollys choice he had a say in it and said two was fine. The us gave more picks as they wanted to make sure they got as strong a team as possible and give option to add experience or form players etc.
    I think the us will be too strong this time they will have more of a team spirit due to the young guns who all get on. They have home advantage and the home crowd plus can set the course up to favour the strength of their team.

  • Comment number 52.

    davey...#51...i hope you and i are both wrong but i agree with you

 

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