Ian Poulter hasn’t tasted victory since November 2012. But that could all change tomorrow at the Scottish Open – and the Englishman is excited at the possibility.
He battled to an impressive one-under-par 71 in brutal conditions at Dundonald Links to join third round playing partner Callum Shinkwin and Aussie Andrew Dodt at the summit of the leaderboard.
Poulter last held a 54-hole at the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open last year and while that didn’t end in a victory, he is hopeful of a different outcome this time around.
“I feel good about my game and I’m certainly looking forward to tomorrow,” said Poulter. “I’m in a good position – one I’d like to be in more often – and I feel comfortable. The buzz is there, even though it may not have looked like it today, and I feel energised and excited about the golf I’ve been playing.”
For the second round in a row, three players share the lead at nine-under-par, but only Shinkwin remains of the three who were at the summit after 36 holes with Alexander Knappe and Padraig Harrington falling away after rounds of 76 and 79 respectively.
Shinkwin, 24, is chasing his maiden European Tour title and Poulter was full of praise for his fellow Englishman’s performance.
“I’ve got to be honest, it’s the first time I’ve ever met him and he was very solid today,” said Poulter. “Somebody said that he hasn’t had the best of seasons so far and when you see him play like that, you scratch your head and think why because he’s right there and playing some great golf.”
Like Poulter, 31-year-old Dodt shot a one-under-par 71 to co-lead and, as well as winning the Rolex Series event, he is also targeting a place in his first major, with three spots on the line.
“My wife flew in from Sydney this morning, and we've got a five-day holiday booked in New York, but I'll be glad to change that for a spot in my first major.
“There's a lot of motivation to try and pick up one of those spots, and try and win the tournament, as well. That's the first goal, and the rest will take care of itself.”
The big winners of the day were the earlier starters, with Andy Sullivan soaring up the leaderboard with a five-under-par 67, while Johan Carlsson, Richard Bland and Graeme McDowell – who is still yet to secure his place at Royal Birkdale – also made good progress by posting 68s.
American duo Matt Kuchar and Rickie Fowler are in a group of nine players that are four back, which includes McDowell, Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston and Rafa Cabrera-Bello.