Poulter again in mix just weeks after Honda collapse


ORLANDO, Fla. – Another Florida golf course, another chance for Ian Poulter to contend.

After squandering a late lead at the Honda Classic earlier this month, Poulter grabbed a share of second place with a 5-under 67 to open the Arnold Palmer Invitational, putting him one shot behind Morgan Hoffmann. The Englishman made it around Bay Hill without a bogey, offering a highlight on No. 16 where his 16-foot putt from the fringe curled in for eagle.

“I played lovely today,” Poulter said. “This is a golf course which can cut you out. I played the key holes very smart, took a couple of chances.”

Poulter’s round was even better considering the fact that the Orlando resident was coming off an eventful evening. His 3-year-old son, Joshua, was taken to the hospital Wednesday night with pneumonia.

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“I didn’t see him until about (12:30) last night when they came back from the hospital,” he said. “(Poulter’s wife) Katie was a nurse by trade so I know he was in good hands, and I got a decent night’s sleep, woke up this morning and he was a little better this morning.”

Poulter led the field in proximity to the hole at PGA National, but he let a three-shot lead slip away after putting five balls into the water during his final round. Despite stumbling down the stretch three weeks ago, Poulter believes there are plenty of positives to glean from his recent performance.

“I hit more good shots than I did rubbish ones, so I’ll pull on the good shots I hit,” he said. “I know the good is really good, and the mistakes have been costly over the last few weeks. If I eliminate the mistakes I’m definitely going to be in with a chance to win.”