Ian Poulter furious after final-hole double-bogey at TPC Sawgrass
By Keith Jackson at TPC Sawgrass
Last Updated: 12/05/18 10:42pm
Ian Poulter admitted he was "raging" after a costly final-hole mistake took the gloss off an otherwise-impressive third round at The Players Championship.
Poulter continued to display his affection for the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass as he vaulted up the leaderboard with four birdies in five holes around the turn, and he then found himself in a tie for second when he hit his tee shot to three feet at the 17th and converted the putt to get to 10 under.
But last year's runner-up then needed two attempts to escape the greenside bunker to the left of the 18th green, and he missed his seven-footer for bogey to walk off with a six and sign for a 69.
Poulter's late error dropped him into a tie for ninth alongside fellow Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, who had earlier birdied the final three holes to card a 68.
"Walking off 17 having a look at the board, tied for second, I finished that last year and would have been very nice to par the last, I'll say that," said Poulter at the Sky Cart. "That water is going to taste like acid in a minute when I finally have a drink.
"I'm raging right now, really not happy. It was extremely disappointing from the position I was in on 18. I couldn't imagine if I would have had 50 attempts again from where I was where I would make double, but I managed to do it right there.
"So it's a shame. I was in the position at 10 under par, I needed to be in to have a realistic go at catching them tomorrow. It's going to be difficult now. If I think back to when I was chasing Henrik down (in 2009), Henrik played incredible golf in tough conditions. It's a hard golf course to press on."
Fleetwood, making only his second appearance at Sawgrass, was only one under for the day after three birdies and two bogeys over his first 15 holes, but his outstanding finish ensured a much later tee time on Sunday.
After a birdie at 16, his tee shot to the 17th was almost identical to Poulter's, although Fleetwood's finishing hole was vastly different as he knocked his second to seven feet and rolled in the putt.
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Matthew Fitzpatrick climbed to four under after an erratic 70 featuring seven birdies, five bogeys and only six pars, and he is a shot ahead of Justin Rose, who did well to salvage a 73 after dropping four shots in six holes on the outward nine.
But Ross Fisher faced an anxious wait to see if he would make the third-round cut as a 73 left him on level par and in a tie for 70th - with only the top 70 and ties getting to play the final day.