A final round of 69 was enough to secure a comfortable five stroke victory at the Madrid Open for England’s Ian Poulter, a victory that was his first for almost two years. Poulter has suffered a slump in form over the last twenty months or so and the win in Madrid lifts him back into the world’s top 50 and secured himself a place at the WGC American Express Championship in Hertfordshire next week.
The 30 year-old (pictured) led by four shots going into Sunday’s final round, and he did not drop any strokes over the whole week until the back nine yesterday when the tournament was all but secured. Birdies at the 3rd, 6th and 11th holes early yesterday virtually put his name on the trophy, and two bogeys on the back nine at the 13th and 17th were offset by further birdies on the 15th and 16th, leaving him at -22 and five shots clear of Spain’s Ignacio Garrido. Phillip Price of Wales was a stroke further back on -16.
Poulter was delighted at having ended his drought and by qualifying for the WGC AmEx, but he revealed that he is still disappointed at missing out on the European Ryder Cup team, which goes into battle against the USA in Ireland on Friday. Poulter, who was a member of the winning European team in 2004, outplayed three European team players this week.
“I don’t think this win will soften the blow of not making the team,” he said.
“I came here to move up the world rankings and make sure I played in the AmEx and I’ve achieved that. I’m delighted to have won again but I’m still very disappointed not to be playing in the Ryder Cup.”
Of the three Ryder Cup stars in action, Ireland’s Padraig Harrington finished best in a tie for fourth place following a final round of 69. Spain’s Jose Maria Olazabal finished in a tie for eighth after successive 67s, while Ireland’s Darren Clarke – playing in his first tournament for almost two months – ended up tied for 31st.