Poulter's 72 enough for 1-shot victory
SINGAPORE -- Briton Ian Poulter overcame a midround swoon to fire a 1-over 72 and win the Singapore Open by one shot Sunday, finishing the $5 million event at 10-under 274 for a wire-to-wire victory.
China's Liang Wenchong finished second at 9-under-par, with Australian pair Scott Hend and Adam Scott tied for third, another shot behind Poulter, who won for the first time on the European Tour since the 2006 Madrid Open.
Singapore Open Leaderboard
1. Poulter (-10)
2. Liang (-9)
T-3. Hend (-8)
T-3. Scott (-8)
T-5. McDowell (-7)
T-5. Hansen (-7)
T-5. Schwartzel (-7)
"I was playing fairly solid but mis-hit some shots," Poulter said in a greenside TV interview. "I made it a little bit interesting on a string of holes yesterday and coming out today I made some mistakes on the front nine and back nine to make it too close for comfort.
"To stand on the last knowing you have to make par for the victory, I was fairly happy."
The co-sanctioned event was troubled by weather delays on the three previous days but Poulter returned to the course under blue skies Sunday and battled through 30 holes before limping over the finishing line having let slip a five-shot halfway lead.
Returning to action after a six-week layoff, the 33-year-old twice looked poised to run away with the tournament before shocking spells in both of his last two rounds gave the rest of the field a chance to catch up.
On Sunday, he started the day tied for the lead with 12 holes remaining in his third round and birdied his first hole back before surrendering back-to-back bogeys around the turn to slip back to seven-under for the tournament.
The flamboyant Briton parred the 11th before his round finally kicked into gear and he recorded four birdies in six holes to move back to the top of the standings.
He had taken a one-stroke lead over Graeme McDowell into the final round after the Northern Irishman fired a 4-under 67 and the pair were involved in a see-saw battle all afternoon.
Poulter had stretched his lead over McDowell to three strokes by the time he reached the seventh fairway, but there his game suddenly fell apart when his approach to the relatively easy par 5 hit a tree.
He ended up taking a bogey 6 and was unable to drive the ball straight for the next five holes, racking up three more bogeys to slip one behind McDowell.
Poulter's straight drive on the 13th was followed by a decent approach and he drained a long birdie putt just as McDowell was starting a run of three bogeys.
"It really pumped me up," Poulter added. "I was getting angry. I had played so well in spells around here this week but it was so annoying to let easy holes slips and all of a sudden lose the lead.
"I felt as if I had to do something and I did. Rolled a putt in from 30 feet and it kind of gave me a nice boost."
Back in front, Poulter regained his composure and played par golf all the way through to the finish to register his eighth European Tour victory.
Liang was solid if unspectacular and tied for the lead at one stage, but his challenge faltered with a bogey on the ninth and another dropped shot on 13.
"I tried my best but lady luck eluded me," said the Chinese No. 1. "I just couldn't find a birdie on the 18th hole after a poor third shot. There are no regrets, however, golf is like that."
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