Ian Poulter will head into next week’s UBS Hong Kong Open on a high after winning the eighth European Tour title of his career at the weekend.
The English ace kept his nerve down the stretch to complete a wire-to-wire victory in the Singapore Open, edging out Chinese No.1 Liang Wenchong by one shot.
Both players are included in the stellar field for the US$2.5 million UBS Hong Kong Open, to be staged at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling from 12-15 November.
Poulter is looking for a late charge up the European Tour’s Race To Dubai money list, with Hong Kong set to play a pivotal part as the penultimate ranking event before the season-ending Dubai World Championship.
His Singapore victory moved him up to 10th place with season earnings of €1,342,559 – almost €1 million behind leader Lee Westwood but with plenty to play for in the closing weeks.
Westwood is also confirmed to play in Hong Kong together with Rory McIlroy, third in the Race To Dubai standings, and Paul Casey, who is currently fifth.
“It’s great to win but there is more to winning right now,” said Poulter.
“It’s the right time to win as the Ryder Cup points have now started and I wanted to come out and put as much money on the board as I possibly could.
“I’ve got off to a great start. I’ve got three more tournaments included for the Race To Dubai and I would like to think that I can have a chance to push Rory or Lee all the way.
“It’s an exciting few weeks leading to Dubai and I am very much looking forward to getting to Shanghai (for this week’s Champions event) and staying fresh and working on a few shots which got away from me this week.
“I’ve got better things to come over the next three weeks, I’m only going to get better.”
Poulter had seen his five-shot halfway lead wiped out during the weather-hit Singapore Open at Sentosa Golf Club but battled back over the closing holes.
With Liang in the clubhouse at nine-under-par following a final round of one-under 70, Poulter stood on the 18th tee with a one-stroke lead.
And the 33-year-old held his nerve to make par for a one-over 72 and a winning total of 10-under 274.
It was his first win since the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan in 2007 and his first on the European Tour since Madrid the previous year.
“Coming out today I made some mistakes to make it too close for comfort,” said a relieved Poulter. “But to stand on the last knowing I had to make five, I was pretty happy.”
Other stars confirmed for the UBS Hong Kong Open include Asia’s first Major winner, Yang Yong Eun of Korea, defending champion Lin Wen Tang of Chinese Taipei and Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke, a 13-time winner on the European Tour.
The tournament – Hong Kong’s oldest professional sporting event, having started in 1959 – will once again be co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours.