Poulter predicts title challenge

Ian Poulter is confident of doing something special this weekend at the Johnnie Walker Classic.

Poulter carded a second-round 66 at The Vines to lie eight under for the tournament, five strokes behind leader KJ Choi.

“I’m very happy with my game,” said the world number 67 after a round of eight birdies and two bogeys. “I’m missing a few short putts, but that’s golf.

“You’re not going to hole them all the time.

“I’m playing so good and I don’t want to give up chances. It’s frustrating I’m giving shots back and when you win golf tournaments you don’t give shots back.

“I should be leading the tournament. If I play (this weekend) like I’ve played for the first two days I will give someone a run for their money all the way.”

The flamboyant 30-year-old – decked out fully in blue – has been modelling a specially designed outfit as a promotion for the tournament sponsor, drawing just as much attention with his play as with his attire.

“The crowd love it, it’s great,” he added.

US Open champion Michael Campbell, world number three Retief Goosen and Colin Montgomerie all failed to make the halfway cut, which fell at two under.

“It’s a strange start to the season but I’m not too stressed about it,” a disappointed Campbell said after rounds of 72 and 74.

“I found it hard to judge the pace of my putts today.

“Obviously it’s a little hiccup in the whole preparation for the year, I’m disappointed I’m not playing the weekend.”

Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam was another to miss the cut after rounds of 74 and 71.

Paul Casey added a 69 to his opening 68 to finish seven under, alongside Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher who carded an excellent 66.

But the man to catch remains Choi, the Korean claiming the outright lead with a round of 66 following his opening 65.

“I’ve been feeling good with my putter and I haven’t missed many shots,” Choi said.

“I’ve been able to put up two really good scores and hope to continue.”

At 13 under Choi is two ahead of American world number 256 Kevin Stadler.

Stadler, son of former Ryder Cup player Craig Stadler, had trouble reading the greens in his 69.

Defending champion Adam Scott, joint overnight leader with Stadler, began the day badly with two consecutive bogeys.

But the world number 10 recovered to card a 71 to finish nine under, tied for third with fellow Australians Richard Green and Tony Carolan.

The round of the day came from Australian Gary Simpson who fired a course-record 63 to catapult himself into contention at six under.

“It was one of those days where I got the good bounces and I took full advantage of it,” Simpson said.

“I knew I had to shoot 67 or 68 to make the cut.”

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