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Poulter Augusta Bound After Houston Thriller

Ian Poulter is the last man into the Masters field after a thrilling win at the Houston Open (Photo: Getty Images)
Stories of redemption always resonate in golf and Ian Poulter has penned a terrific one at this week’s Houston Open.

The controversial Englishman overcame all odds to win his first PGA Tour strokeplay event in overtime from impressive young American Beau Hossler - but the story was about much more than just this week.

After a couple of difficult years, the hero of the 2012 European Ryder Cup team has clawed his way back near the top 50 in the world and at last week’s WGC Matchplay in Texas was told after advancing from the round of 16 that he had done enough to get into the field at Augusta.

However, that information turned out to be wrong and after being told of the mistake just before teeing off in the quarter finals he was trounced 8&6 by Kevin Kisner.

Fast forward to Houston and things didn’t look to have improved when an opening 73 left him sharing 123rdposition in a field of 144. But Then something happened.

After a pep talk from coach Pete Cowen, Poulter shot lights out Friday with a 64 then backed it up Saturday with a 65 to enter the final round sharing the lead.

He played beautifully Sunday only to be caught, and passed late in the back nine, by the super talented Hossler before a narrowly missed putt from the American at the 72ndhole left the door ajar.

Poulter, as he has done so many times in the Ryder Cup, charged through. He holed an unlikely birdie from 20 feet to send the tournament to extra holes and then closed it out ith a regulation par as his younger opponent battled to a triple bogey seven.

“You know last week was painful,” Poulter said in the immediate aftermath.

“And to come here this week… I was tired, I was frustrated on Thursday and I didn’t play my best stuff and I’d packed my bags obviously to leave on Friday.

“And you know, a mental switch… I said to (caddie) James today ‘you know what? Let’s just go play golf and see what happens’.

“This is amazing. I haven’t won a storekeplay event in the States so to do it this week after the disappointment of last week, to know I’m going to Augusta and to do it in true fashion is amazing.”

Poulter, often a polarising character for his emotional play in the Ryder Cup, is the last man into the field at Augusta National with the win bringing the total number to 87 for the year’s first major.

At the start of the final round there as a legitimate chance that number could have been reserved for a fifth Australian with Greg Chalmers teeing off in the second to last group and just two shots off the pace.

But things never went the likeable left hander’s way and he signed for a deflating final round of 9-over 81 which included a humiliating double bogey at the final hole.

Chalmers has struggled for form ever since winning his lone PGA Tour title in 2016 and cam to Texas on the back of just four made cuts in 13 starts for the season.

There were positives to take from his opening three rounds, particularly his Saturday 65, but much of that will be overshadowed by his Sunday meltdown.

In the end it was Matt Jones who finished the best of the Australians, T52 at 5-under for the week and two shots ahead of Chalmers.

Aaron Baddeley also found the weekend tough and was two shots worse than Chalmers and 74thalone.

 

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