One slack shot meant Ian Poulter lost some vital ground in the third round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans today.
Resuming in joint ninth place, three behind American Jerry Kelly, Poulter’s bid to follow fellow Ryder Cup wild card Paul Casey in capturing a first US Tour win got off to the perfect start when he hit his 116-yard pitch to the first to seven feet.
The birdie lifted him into a tie for fifth, but on the difficult fourth he pushed his drive into the lake and with a bogey five returned to seven under par.
He found himself five back as Kelly birdied the second and fifth to reach 12 under, two ahead of compatriot Troy Matteson, who had equalled the TPC Louisiana course record with his second round 64.
Matteson had also birdied the second, while Kevin Stadler, son of former Masters champion Craig, and Steve Marino moved into joint third on nine under after nine and six holes respectively.
With three to play Brian Davis was up from 31st to 17th on six under, the same mark as fellow Englishman Greg Owen after eight holes.
Scot Martin Laird, however, managed only an outward 37 and slipped back to 29th on five under.