Poulter 'relaxed' and ready for Sunday at Harbour Town
Sits one shot behind leader Dustin Johnson entering final round at RBC Heritage
April 20, 2019
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
Ian Poulter’s approach sets up 4-foot birdie putt at RBC Heritage
HILTON HEAD, S.C. – Ian Poulter was 4 years old when his father Terry, who was a single-digit handicapper, gave him his first golf club, a cut down 3-wood.
And Poulter would like nothing better than to give his dad, who is here with him at Harbour Town Golf Links this week, a chance to celebrate a victory with him on Sunday at the RBC Heritage.
The colorful Englishman, who fits right into the tournament’s signature “plaid nation” theme, put himself in position to do just that after shooting his second-consecutive 67 on a windswept Saturday, making six birdies for the second straight day.
Poulter is tied with Shane Lowry, who led after the first and second rounds, and Rory Sabbatini at 9 under, one stroke off the lead held by Dustin Johnson. He termed himself “relaxed” and looking forward to the chance to win his fourth PGA TOUR event.
Poulter’s most recent victory came a year ago at the Houston Open, and that playoff win snapped a six-year drought. In nine starts this season, he’s already had two top-10s, including a tie for third at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship in February.
“I don't put any pressure on myself anymore,” the 43-year-old said. “It's not about the win, it's about being in contention, which I've done that a lot this year.
“I feel great about my game and I'm just going to go have some fun.”
Poulter admittedly didn’t get off to the best of starts on Saturday, pulling his drive left and out-of-bounds on the first hole. He went on to make a double bogey -- which is “not very helpful,” Poulter said wryly -- but the miscue turned out to be just a momentary slip.
Poulter got up and down from beside the green at the second hole for his first birdie, then he made three more in his final four holes as he made the turn. A 4-footer at the 13th hole and a 9-footer at the par-5 15th completed the lanky Brit’s scoring and left him in the final group with Johnson on Sunday.
“Poor start, good finish,” Poulter said. “I have to say pretty pleased from the position of being 2-over par through 1 and obviously shooting 67 is obviously a good day.”
After two days of battling swirling winds gusting to more than 30 mph, conditions are expected to moderate on Sunday. Temperatures will be in the low 70s and winds from the north at 12 mph.
The challenging conditions made Poulter’s back-to-back 67s all the more impressive.
“I knew it was going to be a difficult day today,” he said. “I really had to kind of focus, take my time, take opportunities when they come and not make any silly mistakes like I did at first.”
This is actually the second straight year that Poulter has been in the mix entering the final round at Harbour Town. He actually led by one at 13 under in 2018 but closed with a 75 to fall back into a tie for seventh. Avoiding mistakes like the one at the first hole on Saturday will be key.
“I've just got to keep doing what I'm doing,” Poulter said. “I'm in position again. I'm in contention, which is what I like to be on a Sunday. As often as I've done that this year, I haven't quite finished one off.
“It would be nice to go out tomorrow and be aggressive where I can, and obviously see if I can go close.”