Poulter eyes Dubai glory

DUBAI - Ian Poulter hopes to follow up his UBS Hong Kong Open victory with further glory in Thursday’s Dubai World Championship at the Jumeirah Golf Estates.

By Alex Leach

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Published: Wed 24 Nov 2010, 12:02 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 5:17 AM

The Englishman, 34, prevailed over Simon Dyson and Italian teenager Matteo Manassero – who finished in joint second – by one stroke at Fanling on Sunday to underline his credentials ahead of the climactic ‘Race to Dubai’ finale.

That success saw Poulter return among the top 10 of the world rankings and another win this week would edge him nearer to Lee Westwood’s number one position.

“The Race to Dubai is what I’m focusing on right now and I know, if I win the Dubai World Championship (DWC), then – mathematically – I’m going to be close,” the snazzily-dressed, Arsenal fanatic said.

“I haven’t worked it out, but I’m going to run pretty close. If I can do that, I’ll be very happy and certainly – if you’re going to win some golf tournaments – then obviously you’re going to move up in the world rankings.

“With Tiger (Woods) dropping as many points as he has in the last 12 months, Lee has capitalised on that and many people will feel it’s their best chance to get up as high as they possibly can.”

Poulter’s pathway to a quickfire double triumph at the Greg Norman-designed Earth course will be anything but easy though, with many fellow Ryder Cup stars also vying for the lion’s share of the $7.5 million prize fund.

Front-running German Martin Kaymer has leading claims of landing the Harry Vardon Trophy, having taken away the honours from the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews and the KLM Open in the Netherlands in recent months.

He is seemingly intent on making up for last year’s misfortune too, when a go-karting accident in August put the skids on any end-of-year acceleration from pole.

“Last year, when I had a chance to win The Race to Dubai, that gave me the belief that I can be the number one in Europe one day,” said Kaymer, who readily admits to enjoying warmer climes at this time of the season.

“The Middle East is fantastic for me. I practise in the wintertime in Arizona, so going to Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Dubai is fantastic. It feels like playing in Arizona.”

Kaymer has however US Open champion Graeme McDowell hot on his heels, with the Ulsterman vowing to maintain his challenge right down to the wire.

“I set out on these five weeks to put a shine on the season. I could have easily kicked back and put my feet up after the Ryder Cup and said: ‘What a year!’” the 31-year-old said.

“But, I wanted to come into this round and try to finish off strong because that will make Christmas dinner taste even better if I can push Martin all of the way to the line.

“Whether I go past him or not, just to give myself the opportunity to win The Race to Dubai – considering the type of season he’s had – feels good.

“I’m really feeling under control of my emotions. I’m not putting myself under any extra pressure because of The Race to Dubai. I’m just trying to play my golf and give myself a shot at it.”

He added: “He was many lengths clear with a couple of fences to go, but we have a few furlongs left and I’m coming up the rail fast.”

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