Poul­ter aim­ing to sort out US Open spot

New Straits Times - - Sport -

WENT­WORTH: Eng­land’s Ian Poul­ter is aim­ing to ce­ment his place in next month’s US Open with a win in the Euro­pean PGA Cham­pi­onship which starts at Went­worth to­day.

Poul­ter, ranked 81st in the world, needs to get into the top 60 of the rank­ings by June 12 — or win this tour­na­ment — to re­serve his place at Erin Hills in the sea­son’s sec­ond ma­jor or face head­ing to qual­i­fy­ing.

The 41-year-old will have other chances to qual­ify but his con­fi­dence is high af­ter fin­ish­ing sec­ond at the Play­ers Cham­pi­onship a fort­night ago and he wants to strike while the iron is hot.

That run­ners-up spot at Saw­grass stopped a slump which had seen Poul­ter fall to 204th in the rank­ings and gave him hope that he can sort out his im­me­di­ate fu­ture this week.

“I am hop­ing to win this week and then I am in,” Poul­ter told re­porters at Went­worth. “All good things come from win­ning golf tour­na­ments so if I play well this week and I win then it takes care of that.

“US Open qual­i­fy­ing is a last re­sort and I am not sure if I will need that re­sort and I am still not sure if I am go­ing to go over and try and qual­ify. But I would like to care of that this week — that’s the plan.

“I am in a re­ally good frame of mind and when you are in a good frame of mind gen­er­ally good things hap­pen.”

Poul­ter’s ca­reer was in a tail­spin un­til his Play­ers per­for­mance and that has en­abled him to map out a plan for the next few weeks.

“I can’t em­pha­sise how big a week it was,” he added. “From just a per­spec­tive of plan­ning, there wasn’t any plan­ning I could re­ally do.

“To take care of my play­ing rights over there, to take care of mov­ing the world rank­ing po­si­tion and to be able to play a string of events in Europe this sum­mer was some­thing I re­ally wanted to do. A few weeks ago I couldn’t com­mit to that — now I am in a po­si­tion to.”

Masters cham­pion Ser­gio Gar­cia and the in­jured World No 2 Rory McIl­roy are miss­ing this week but Olympic gold medal­list Justin Rose, Bri­tish Open cham­pion Hen­rik Sten­son, Danny Wil­lett and World No 13 Alex Noren are all on pa­rade along with de­fend­ing cham­pion Chris Wood. AFP

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