Jamie Spence praised Ian Poulter's win at the WGC HSBC Champions
Jamie Spence praised Ian Poulter's short game after his win at the WGC HSBC Champions in China.
Last Updated: 04/11/12 11:35am
The Ryder Cup hero matched Saturday's 65 to leap-frog compatriot Lee Westwood and South African Louis Oosthuizen, who both threw away the four-short advantage they held on Poulter at the start of the final round.
"It was a masterclass in the short game, especially out of the bunkers," said Spence after watching Poulter finish on -21, two clear of Jason Dufner, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson and Scott Piercy.
"He's one of the best bunker players on tour and always has been. His course management was superb and he hit the ball terrifically well too, let's not forget that.
"On the 15th tee he was waiting a long time and then hit it 320 yards. A few years ago Ian Poulter wouldn't have had that shot in his game.
"He just played some smart golf and he holes those putts when he has to. I'm delighted for him."
After his legendary display in the Ryder Cup just over a month ago, Poulter has struggled to hit the heights he reached in Medinah, but Spence believes his form is returning and the popular player can look forward to a promising 2013.
"He shot 65 in the last round last week so the signs were that he was back on form after having a bit of an emotional hangover from Medinah," said Spence.
"But this year he's had three top tens in the majors and that's unusual for someone to have. He's getting closer, he's getting better and better and his all-round game is improving.
"He's always had bottle but he's putting some good golf together to go with that as well now.
"We know how good he is at match play but to win this WGC HSCB Champions stroke play event is sensational."
Woe for Westwood
However, it was a disappointing day for Westwood and Oosthuizen - and Spence said Westwood's short game is failing him.
"Lee Westwood and Oosthuizen only shot level par," he said.
"They would have had to shoot 69 to get in a play-off with Poulter so they still had some golf to play and there's always going to be someone coming from behind.
"But Westwood was level par for the par fives and that's what is very disappointing for him. He'd expect to be a minimum of three under for those.
"He missed a couple of little tiddlers on the front nine as well, so that was a very disappointing day for Lee.
"When he gets to the last round he just gets out of his rhythm. It's tough for him, really tough to take."