SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Ian Poulter managed a grin after hitting a shot that would give most players nightmares.
Poulter stepped to the tee at the par-3 16th during the second round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open late in the afternoon. With the sizeable crowd already in a well-hydrated frenzy, he proceeded to shank his tee shot into the stands that line the right side of the green.
After a fan threw the ball back out into the fairway, Poulter took a drop and ultimately made a bogey. But following a 2-under 69 that left him 3 under for the tournament, he was able to take the cringe-worthy shot in stride.
“It’s not my first shank, and it won’t be my last shank,” Poulter said. “That’s it. I laugh at it. It’s pretty funny.”
Poulter is coming off the heels of a two-week stretch on the European Tour’s Desert Swing, and at No. 57 in the world he is still hoping to crack the top 50 in time to qualify for the Masters. It’s a far cry from the Englishman’s position a year ago, when he was fighting to retain status on the PGA Tour, and it helped lend a bit of perspective after hitting perhaps the most-feared shot in golf in front of one of the largest galleries ever assembled.
“Feel good, feel happy. Playing nicely,” Poulter said. “Three weeks in a row, it’s good for me to get on a little run. Start looking forward to a couple weeks off after this, and then have a nice little run after that as well. Hopefully try to play five events in a row, get a bit of momentum.”