Ian Poulter followed up a 64 on Friday with a 65 on Saturday and will head into Sunday’s finale of the Houston Open with a share of the lead at 14 under par.
The Englishman signed for a bogey-free round comprised of 11 pars and seven birdies, six of which came by the way of three sets of back-to-backs, including a final pair on Nos. 16 and 17 to reach 65.
“I feel obviously very good. Day one was extremely frustrating from a putting standpoint… I was very frustrated Thursday night, packed my suitcase to potentially go home Friday night. Started early on Friday morning, didn’t really have a lot of time to putt before the round of golf, obviously just playing the 18th,” said Poulter.
“Felt something in the couple of putts that I did hit, just opened my shoulder slightly. From that point I’ve been able to stand over the putts, I’ve been seeing my lines a lot easier and been rolling a few putts in.
“So good golf has been rewarded obviously with rolling a few putts in, and obviously I’m in a nice position.
Overnight leader Beau Hossler shot a 3-under 69, and is tied with Poulter for the top spot.
A foursome made up of Greg Chalmers (65), Emiliano Grillo (67), Kevin Tway (69), and Paul Dunne (69) sit T3 at 12-under par.
Henrik Stenson, Matt Kuchar and Chesson Hadley posted matching 69s and lead a group of six players tied for seventh at 11-under par.
Jordan Spieth claimed on Friday that he’s already accomplished everything he wanted to this week, and that anything else was “icing on the cake.” Spieth will be dining on a slice of cake tonight with no icing after shooting a 71 to sit 10-under par.
“Today I just got a little anxious trying to get out there early and make a statement, and the greens sped up a good foot today and I just didn’t make that adjustment,” said Spieth.
After three birdies on his first four holes, Rickie Fowler was atop the leaderboard at 13 under. But after bookending a double bogey with a triple bogey over an eight-hole stretch (Nos. 6-13), Fowler plummeted to T17 and 9-under par.
“I really just had the two holes that obviously cost me a few shots there being in a real good spot for tomorrow,” said Fowler.
“Yeah, lost focus a little bit on 13. I ended up with a tough lie. I hit a great drive on 6 and just caught the top of the bunker and back in. Wasn’t a great lie, made double.
“So yeah, 13, lost a little focus there. It’s a fairly easy driving hole, end up compounding the mistakes.”
1 Ian Poulter -14
1 Beau Hossler -14
3 Greg Chalmers -12
3 Emiliano Grillo -12
3 Kevin Tway -12
3 Paul Dunne -12
7 Robert Garrigus -11
7 Henrik Stenson -11
7 Chesson Hadley -11
7 Matt Kuchar -11
7 Sam Ryder -11
13 Jordan Spieth -10
17 Rickie Fowler -9
23 Charles Howell III -8
31 Justin Rose -7
31 Tony Finau -7
31 Daniel Berger -7
48 Russell Henley -6
55 Phil Mickelson -5
“Totally, yeah. Like I said, playing with Rickie also kind of helped me out there just because I’ve played in some groups with some crowds, but he gets some pretty rowdy fans sometimes, too. We had a really good time. I felt really good with the crowd, with the pressure being in the final group and I felt really good down to the end today so hopefully we can do that again tomorrow.”
– Beau Hossler
Credit: Getty Images, PGA Tour Media