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Rookie Leads Way in Italy

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Rookie Ian Poulter all-but secured himself a spot in next week's Volvo Masters in the third round of the Italian Open. Poulter fired a 7-under-par 65 on Saturday to take a three-shot lead into the final round in Sardinia, Italy.
 
Poulter, currently 55th on the Volvo Order of Merit, has a quartet of players on his heels at 15-under-par. Francisco Cea, Ricardo Gonzalez, Van Phillips and Roger Wessels are all within three strokes of the 54-hole leader, who stands at 18-under-par through three rounds at Is Molas.
 
The top 55 players in earnings following this week's event qualify for the Volvo Masters.
 
Poulter began the day one shot back of mid-way co-leaders Elliot Boult and Richard Green, both of whom shot 2-under-par 70s on Saturday to fall into a tie for 6th at 14-under. But after making the turn in 33, the 24-year-old Englishman carded five birdies in a six-hole stretch beginning at the 12th.
 
'It will be a new experience tomorrow,' said Poulter. 'I like it. See how we do tomorrow.
 
'I'm a positive person. I always think I can win; otherwise, I wouldn't be playing. I like to put myself in position which I have done a couple of times this year.'
 
Poulter has a pair of top-3 finishes this year at the Brazil 500 years Open (T3) and the Moroccan Open (T2).
 
In addition to trying to win his first-career European event, Poulter is also vying for the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award. Poulter currently trails Alastair Forsyth, who missed the cut this week, by roughly $50,000 on the Order of Merit.
 
'It would be quite an honor,' said Poulter of being named the top rookie in 2000. 'I am trying not to think about it. I'm trying to think of the top 20 in the Volvo Order of Merit. If we can get in that position then it opens bigger doors.'