By Staff and Wire Reports of Global Golf Post
Last week, Ian Poulter was mistakenly told he earned an invitation to the first major of the year by breaking into the top 50 in the world. Instead, he ended the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at No. 51, meaning a victory in Houston would be his only path to Augusta.
Through one round, it looked certain Poulter would be nowhere near contention. His 1-over 73 left him nine strokes off the pace and he said he packed his suitcase in preparation to go home Friday night.
Instead, Poulter became the first player in the past 35 years to win a PGA Tour event after being tied for 123rd or worse after the opening round.
“Last week was painful,” Poulter said. “To come into this week, I was tired, I was frustrated on Thursday. I didn’t play my best stuff. I had packed my bags, honestly, to leave on Friday. I waited my time. This is amazing. I haven’t won a stroke-play event in the States, so to do it this week after the disappointment of last week, to know I’m going to Augusta, to do it in true fashion is amazing.”
How did he do it? Poulter made 21 birdies and just one bogey on the last 54 holes, battling 23-year-old Beau Hossler down the wire. In Sunday’s final round, Poulter built a three-stroke lead with 10 holes to play but watched as Hossler birdied Nos. 12, 13, 14 and 15 to go ahead by one shot.
The margin remained that way until the final hole. Hossler had a 30-foot birdie attempt to win the tournament outright, but it missed on the right-hand side by the narrowest of margins. That left the stage open for Poulter, who sank the tying birdie putt and pounded his chest.
The playoff had little drama compared to regulation. Hosler put his approach shot into the greenside bunker and then hit his third shot into the water, while Poulter made a routine part to win easily.
It’s a heartbreaking result for Hossler, who appeared to have the event won until Poulter’s magical finish. The former Texas Longhorn moves to 28th in the FedEx Cup standings, making it likely he will retain his Tour card for next year.
Among other notable finishers, Jordan Spieth (16 under) tied for third place and Henrik Stenton (14 under) tied for sixth.
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei Orange CK 60TX
3 Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Matrix Ozik TP7HDe 7X
Hybrid: Titleist 816 H2 (21 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green ATX85H TX
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (52-12F, 56-14F, 60-04L)
Shaft: Project X LZ 7.0 (52), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 (56, 60)
Putter: Odyssey No. 7
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Check out our “Watts” in the Bag section to see the clubs players use to win.
Republished with permission from Global Golf Post