GOLF: Ian Poulter jets into Portstewart on a high for DDF Irish Open

Ian Poulter
Ian Poulter

Ian Poulter put his local knowledge to full use to qualify for the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale via final qualifying at his home club Woburn.

Poulter, who finished second behind Padraig Harrington the last time Birkdale hosted the Open in 2008, carded rounds of 70 and 68 to finish joint second with fellow Englishman Toby Tree, two shots behind India’s Shiv Kapur.

Kapur’s trip from Delhi proved worthwhile as he shot rounds of 71 and 65 on the Marquess Course to finish eight under par.

“Obviously going back to Birkdale after what happened in 2008 is special,” Poulter, 41, said. “I thought I had that 15-foot putt (on the 72nd hole) to maybe win or get in a play-off and then my Irish friend decided to go bananas on the last five holes.

“It was a great week, my best in a major. All my family and friends were there to see me play and after I finished Katie (his wife) told me she was pregnant with Lily, so it was happy days that week.

“I would say Birkdale is my favourite Open venue because of 2008 and I’m looking forward to competing there. It’s going to be a busy run. It will be my fourth tournament in a row but it’s about managing my energy levels. But as soon as I get there I will be pumped for the week.

“It would have been disappointing to miss out, especially around this course (Woburn). I would have been expected to have qualified and I guess you can say job well done.”