Britain’s bogey-free Poulter surges to PGA Heritage lead

Washington, United States: Britain’s Ian Poulter, seeking his second title in three weeks, fired a four-under-par 64 to seize a one-stroke lead after Saturday’s third round of the US PGA Heritage Classic.
The 42-year-old Englishman, who won the Houston Open two weeks ago to earn a berth in last week’s Masters, fired his second consecutive bogey-free round to stand on 13-under par 200 after 54 holes at Harbor Town in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
“Clean card. That’s what’s keeping me up there,” Poulter said. “I’m driving it well. I feel comfortable with my irons.”
South Korea’s Kim Si-Woo and American Luke List shared second on 201 and will play alongside Poulter in Sunday’s final round, when threesomes will be used with early tee times in a bid to finish before expected storms arrive.
Taiwan’s C T Pan and American Billy Horschel were another stroke back on 202.
Poulter, playing for the sixth week in a row as a result of his last-chance qualifying for the Masters, has gone 45 holes without a bogey since his ninth hole in Thursday’s opening round.
“Still standing,” Poulter said. “It’s unusual I play six weeks in a row. I can muster up another day’s hard graft and see if we can pull it out of the bag again.”
Poulter, who shared 44th last week at Augusta National in the year’s first major tournament, blasted out of a bunker to three feet and birdied the par-5 fifth, then sank a 15-foot birdie putt at the par-4 sixth.
While Poulter birdied the 12th and 13th as well, he said he key back-nine holes were par saves at the par-3 14th and 17th. At 14 he missed the green but dropped his second shot three feet from the cup and at 17 he blasted from a bunker and sank a testy 6-footer for par. “The par-3 pars on the back nine were key,” Poulter said. “Those two saves were the key to my round.”
The only Englishman to win the Heritage was Nick Faldo, who in 1984 made it his first US triumph. Poulter’s first US victory was at Houston.
Kim, last year’s Players Championship winner who took his first US PGA title at Greensboro in 2016, fired a 68 with five birdies, including all three par-5 holes.— AFP