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Monday, November 5, 2012

The Limerick Summary: 2012 WGC-HSBC Champions

Winner: Ian Poulter

Around the wider world of golf: 14-year-old Guan Tianlang won the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Bangkok and "punched his ticket" to the Masters; Stacy Lewis won the Mizuno Classic on the LPGA; Cassandra Kirkland won the Sanya Ladies Open on the LET; and Tom Lehman won both the Charles Schwab Cup Championship and the year-long Charles Schwab Cup.

Poulter does it again

Like I said in yesterday's post about the WGC, "The play is just too volatile to know what might happen before the end of the round... And the lead changes with almost every hole... The season of come-from-behind winners doesn't seem to be waning yet."

After Friday's second round, Ian Poulter was 9 strokes back of then-leader Louis Oosthuizen (who was at an amazing -16) and didn't appear to have a chance to catch him. All Ian did was shoot 65-65 (-14) on the weekend and end up with a two-stroke victory. No, I didn't see it coming.

But am I shocked? Hell, no. This is Ian Poulter we're talking about here, the original Mr. Clutch Under Pressure. He's better at riding a streak of good play than almost any other player in the game.

And it's probably worth mentioning that players who come up big in a Ryder Cup tend to play well in the following months. Mickelson did -- as did Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer -- and Jason Dufner also continued to play well, tying for second place after a 64 in the final round. But no one came up bigger than Poulter, either in the Ryder Cup or this week.

And may be more worrisome for someone who didn't even play this week. For Rory McIlroy, the big news is Ian's newfound spot in the Race to Dubai. He's now in fourth place, a little over €1.1million behind with 4 more tournaments (including the final championship) left to go. Granted, this is a big ask -- Rory will continue to make money over the next few weeks, making it harder to catch him. But Poulter has a win and a T6 the last two times he's played in Singapore -- this week's tournament and the biggest remaining purse outside the final -- and while Rory won in Hong Kong last year, Ian won it in 2010. I don't know if I'd bet against Mr. Clutch, now that he can smell blood.

I mean, just look at this photo from the WGC-HSBC Champions home page. Would you bet against this man?

Ian looks excited

But in the meantime, this week's Limerick Summary salutes the warlord who successfully conquered his opponents in China. The only question is how long his barbaric assault will last...
This week's scoreboard looked more like a smorgasbord
With the leaders attacking like Mongol hordes.
Though the lead was quite fragile,
Ian proved the most agile –
His last minute charge topped the leaderboard.
The top photo is from the WGC-HSBC Champions page at europeantour.com.

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