Poulter falters at Mirasol

Ian Poulter, relieved still to be competing at the Honda Classic in Florida, was fuming tonight after one hole dealt a massive blow to his hopes of qualifying for next month’s Masters.

Ian Poulter, relieved still to be competing at the Honda Classic in Florida, was fuming tonight after one hole dealt a massive blow to his hopes of qualifying for next month’s Masters.

Poulter, with only two more weeks to climb into the world’s top 50 from his current position of 65th, had survived the halfway cut at Mirasol right on the limit of three over par.

In an inspired first 13 holes of his third round he grabbed six birdies to move up from 64th to 19th place – but then came a triple-bogey seven on the 470-yard 14th, with putts accounting for four of the dropped shots.

Just short of the green in two, Poulter chipped to 22 feet, but hit his par attempt four feet past, did the same with his bogey effort and missed the hole again coming back.

Dropping another stroke at the 16th meant the Ryder Cup star finished with a 70 and at one over was 11 adrift of David Toms, who led by one overnight from fellow American Billy Mayfair.

Defending champion Padraig Harrington and Swedes Daniel Chopra and Mathias Gronberg – a late replacement for Nick Faldo, who withdrew because of an illness in his family – were joint third on six under when they resumed.

Lee Westwood and Luke Donald were not out of it either. They shared seventh place on five under.

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